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Tim Radford – Humans’ indelible mark on new era

Geologists are convinced that humans have left a mark upon the planet that will detectable millions of years from now.

Long after human civilisation has perished, there could be a stratum of fossilised rock and a geological time zone that says: “We were here.” So there is a case for calling the present epoch “the Anthropocene” − probably dating from about 65 years ago.

The term Anthropocene derives from the ancient Greek for humankind. And for more than a decade, scientists have been arguing about whether what is officially known as the Holocene epoch of the Quaternary period of the Cenozoic era should be renamed to indicate human impact. There have been arguments in plenty.

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