The early anthropocene hypothesis (sometimes called Early Anthropogenic) is a theory proposed by William Ruddiman. It posits that the Anthropocene era, as some scientists call the most recent period in the Earth's history when the activities of the human race first began to have a significant global impact on the Earth's climate and ecosystems, did not begin in the eighteenth century with advent of coal-burning factories and power plants of the industrial era, as was commonly assumed, but dates back to 8,000 years ago, triggered by intense farming activities after agriculture became widespread. It was at that time that atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations stopped following the periodic pattern of rises and falls that had accurately characterized their past long-term behavior, a pattern which is explained by natural variations in the Earth's orbit known as Milankovitch cycles.
In his overdue-glaciation hypothesis Ruddiman claims that an incipient ice age would probably have begun several thousand years ago, but the arrival of that scheduled ice age was forestalled by intense farming and deforestation by early farmers that began raising the level of greenhouse gases eight thousand years ago.
The overdue-glaciation hypothesis has been challenged on the grounds that comparison with an earlier interglaciation (MIS 11, 400,000 years ago) suggest that 16,000 more years must elapse before the current Holocene interglaciation comes to an end. Data from even earlier ice-cores going as far back as 800,000 years ago suggest probable cyclicity of interglacial length and an inverse correlation with the maximum temperature of each interglacial. But Ruddiman argues that this results from a false alignment of recent insolation maxima with insolation minima from the past, among other irregularities which invalidate the criticism.
The Neolithic revolution or agricultural revolution was wide-scale demographic transition in the Neolithic. Historically verifiable, many human cultures changed from hunter-gatherers to agriculture and settlement which supported an increase in population. Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved in separate locations worldwide, starting in the geological epoch of the Holocene around 12,000 14C years ago (12,000–7,000 BP).
- Jean-Pierre Bocquet-Appel (July 29, 2011). "When the World’s Population Took Off: The Springboard of the Neolithic Demographic Transition". Science 333 (6042): 560–561. Bibcode:2011Sci...333..560B. doi:10.1126/science.1208880. PMID 21798934. Retrieved June 10, 2012.
- "International Stratigraphic Chart". International Commission on Stratigraphy. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
- Graeme Barker (25 March 2009). The Agricultural Revolution in Prehistory: Why did Foragers become Farmers?. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-955995-4. Retrieved 15 August 2012.
- William Ruddiman's home page
- How Did Humans First Alter Global Climate?
- The anthropogenic greenhouse era began thousands of years ago; Climatic Change 61: 261–293, 2003
- Debate over the Early Anthropogenic Hypothesis
- The EPICA Challenge: Predicting CO2 Over 800,000 years