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anthropoceneAnthropozän (ger.)

  • The geological era of man.
    man anthropozoicum

    [ & dernière Époque. Lorsque la puissance de l'Homme a seondé celle de la Nature

    Buffon, G.L.L. de (1778). Les époques de la nature. In: Histoire naturelle générale et particulière, Suppl. vol. V: iii.]


    [Some authors apply the term contemporaneous to all the formations which have originated during the human epoch

    Lyell, C. (1833). Principles of Geology, vol. 3: 52.]


    [I have been endeavoring to illustrate the doctrine that man’s nature is different from the nature of other animals; as subsidiary to the doctrine that the Human Epoch of the earth’s history is different from all the preceding Epochs.

    [Whewell, W.] (1853). Of the Plurality of Worlds: 88.]


    [All the recent rocks, called in our last lesson Post-Pleistocene, might have been called Anthropozoic, that is, human-life rocks.

    Jenkyn, T.W. (1854). Lessons in Geology, No. L. Chapter V. On the classification of rocks, section IV. On the tertiaries. Popular Educator 4, 313-316: 313.]


    [If you imagine that the continents of our globe were once more, as they have been frequently before, submerged under the waves of the ocean, and that the geologist of some future millenium would be investigating these very complicated phenomena,—then, to him, the particulars recorded in the geological works of the present age would be of incalculable value. They would give him new light in his inquiries and new power in his proofs, as he descanted upon the fossil flora and fossil fauna of the rocks which were deposited in, what would then be called, the human epoch.

    Jenkyn, T.W. (1854). Lessons in Geology, No. XLVI, Chapter IV. On the effects of organic agents on the Earth’s crust. Popular Educator 4, 139-141: 140.]


    [The Modern or Human epoch is illustrated by alluvial deposits, which are the effects of atmospheric and other more powerful local causes : these still continue in operation, imbedding remains of man and inorganic matter.

    Adams, W.H.D. (1856). The History, Topography, and Antiquities of the Isle of Wight: 247.]


    [The ages recognized are […] Age of Mollusks, or Silurian; Age of Fishes, or Devonian; Carboniferous Age; Age of Reptiles; Age of Mammals; Age of Man. Preceding these, there is the Azoic era

    Dana, J.D. (1863). Manual of Geology: 130.]


    [Professor Dana proposed to divide the world into five ages, which might be called the age of Mollusks, the age of Fishes, the age of Reptiles, the age of Mammals, and the age of Man. For these terms I would substitute the following equivalents:—The Malacozoic, Ichthyozoic, Saurozoic, Mastozoic, and Anthropozoic Epochs.

    Haughton, S. (1865). Manual of Geology: 138.]


    [èra antropozoica […] [definita da] un nuovo elemento: è una nuova forza tellurica, che, per la sua potenza e universalità, non sviene in faccia alle maggiori forze del globo.

    Stoppani, A. (1873). Corso di geologia, vol. 2: 732 (cap. xxxi, sect. 1327).]


    [Psychozoic era, or era of mind […] the Neolithic commences the Psychozoic era, or reign of man

    LeConte, J. (1877). Elements of Geology (New York 1879): 269; 561.]


    it seems to us more than appropriate to emphasize the central role of mankind in geology and ecology by proposing to use the term ‘anthropocene’ for the current geological epoch.

    Crutzen, P.J. & Stoermer, E.F. (2000). The ‘anthropocene’. Global Change Newsletter 41, 17-18: 17.


    It seems appropriate to assign the term ‘Anthropocene’ to the present, in many ways human-dominated, geological epoch, supplementing the Holocene — the warm period of the past 10–12 millennia. The Anthropocene could be said to have started in the latter part of the eighteenth century, when analyses of air trapped in polar ice showed the beginning of growing global concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane. This date also happens to coincide with James Watt’s design of the steam engine in 1784.

    Crutzen, P.J. (2002). Geology of mankind. Nature 415 (6867), 23.


    Anthropocene might be a useful time stratigraphic term. In essence, it describes the disruptions driven by human activities. However, elevating terms that may become iconic in pop culture is not in itself sufficient evidence to amend formal stratigraphic practice. Science and society have much to gain from a clear understanding of how humans drive Earth-system processes instead of conducting an esoteric debate about stratigraphic nomenclature. Let the Anthropocene retain its rightful place as a focal point in the culture wars over the recognition and interpretation of environmental process.

    Autin, W.J. & Holbrook, J.M. (2012). Is the Anthropocene an issue of stratigraphy or pop culture? GSA Today 22(7), 60-61: 61.


    The push to formalize the Anthropocene upsets some stratigraphers. […] “I’m frustrated because any time they do anything, there are newspaper articles,” says Stan Finney, a stratigraphic palaeontologist at California State University in Long Beach and the chair of the ICS, which would eventually vote on any proposal put forward by the working group. “What you see here is, it’s become a political statement. That’s what so many people want.”

    Monastersky, R. (2015). Anthropocene: The human age. Nature 519, 144-147: 147.


    The Anthropocene was conceived by Earth-system scientists to capture the very recent rupture in Earth’s history arising from the impact of human activity on the Earth system as a whole. […] The idea of the Anthropocene is not welcoming. It should frighten us. And scientists should present it as such.

    Hamilton, C. (2016). Define the Anthropocene in terms of the whole Earth. Nature 536, 251.


    Humanity’s impact on the Earth is now so profound that a new geological epoch – the Anthropocene – needs to be declared, according to an official expert group who presented the recommendation to the International Geological Congress in Cape Town on Monday. The new epoch should begin about 1950, the experts said, and was likely to be defined by the radioactive elements dispersed across the planet by nuclear bomb tests, although an array of other signals, including plastic pollution, soot from power stations, concrete, and even the bones left by the global proliferation of the domestic chicken were now under consideration.

    Carrington, D. (2016). The Anthropocene epoch: scientists declare dawn of human-influenced age. The Guardian 29 August 2016.

Davis, R.V. (2011). Inventing the present: historical roots of the Anthropocene. Earth Sciences History 30, 63-84.

Hamilton, C. & Grinevald, J. (2015). Was the anthropocene anticipated? The Anthropocene Review 2, 59-72.