Have Humans Changed the Planet So Much That They've Ended the Holocene?

Over at the excellent blog Centauri Dreams, Paul Glister considers the recent proposal that humans have inaugurated a new geological epoch. He writes: "Geologists at the University of Leicester, picking up on a proposal first made by chemist Paul Crutzen in 2002, now suggest that the Holocene epoch has ended. The new epoch, which they dub the Anthropocene, is the result of significant human actions." He links to some interesting articles about it, and thinks there's a good case to be made for the end of the Holocene as we know it. [Centauri Dreams]


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What the hell is a Holocene, or a Anthropocene, or a cene for that matter? I've heard the word epoch before.