Did the Anthropocene Begin with a Bang or a Drumroll?

January 22, 2015 4:38 PM

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How do you mark the instant when human impacts so changed the planet that the signs will remain embedded in Earth's rock record for time immemorial? That is essentially the question that three important new scientific studies published online within days of each other tackled this month, in trying to figure out when the time we now live in, the Anthropocene, began.

I have more than a passing interest in that question, because in my job as a paleontologist, I've dedicated three decades to trying to understand whether, in the long run, humans are like any other creature that eventually ends up fossilized, or whether we hold a special place in nature -- as the dr...

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