The Anthropozoic era revisited

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Valentí Rull


This paper explains in some detail the poorly known proposal of Stoppani (1873) regarding the Anthropozoic era, whose beginning was defined by the first traces of human presence on Earth. This author set the stratigraphic bases for the definition of the “human era”, but the proposal had two main weaknesses: the dismissal of biological evolution and the lack of an absolute chronology. Further developments in radiometric/paleomagnetic dating and the elucidation of the main trends and timing of human evolution have provided the necessary information to update the original Anthropocene proposal in chronological terms, maintaining Stoppani’s original definition and stratigraphic markers. This updated proposal follows the rules of the International Stratigraphic Guide and situates the beginning of the Anthropozoic era at the beginning of the Quaternary, when the first human fossils, corresponding to the first species of the genus Homo, and their cultural manifestations have been identified and dated. Therefore, the new Anthropozoic era would follow the Cenozoic era, which ended with the Neogene period. Defined in this way, the Quaternary period and its Pleistocene and Holocene epochs would be situated in the new Anthropozoic era. The main advantages of the updated Anthropozoic proposal are discussed and compared with the Anthropocene proposal, which is currently in progress. It is suggested that the updated Anthropozoic proposal might be fully elaborated to evaluate whether it would be submitted to the International Commission on Stratigraphy and the International Union of Geological Sciences for its eventual formalization.



Earth Sciences, Physical Sciences and Mathematics, Stratigraphy


absolute dating, Anthropocene, Anthropozoic, Cenozoic, formalization, human era, human evolution, Quaternary, stratigraphy


Published: 2020-07-21 23:05

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CC BY Attribution 4.0 International

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