Early anthropocene

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The Early Anthropocene Hypothesis (sometimes called Early Anthropogenic or Ruddiman Hypothesis) is a stance concerning the beginning of the Anthropocene first proposed by William Ruddiman in 2003.[1] It posits that the Anthropocene, a proposed geological epoch coinciding with the most recent period in Earth's history when the activities of the human race first began to have a significant global impact on 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 that is explained by natural variations in Earth's orbit known as Milankovitch cycles.

Overdue-glaciation hypothesis[edit]

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 [2] that this results from a false alignment of recent insolation maxima with insolation minima from the past, among other irregularities that invalidate the criticism.

Neolithic revolution[edit]

The Neolithic revolution or agricultural revolution was a wide-scale demographic transition in the Neolithic. Historically verifiable, many human cultures changed from hunter-gatherers to agriculture and settlement that supported an increase in population.[3] Archaeological data indicates that various forms of plants and animal domestication evolved in separate locations worldwide, starting in the geological epoch of the Holocene[4] around 12,000 14C years ago (12,000–7,000 BP).[5]


  1. ^ http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/Ruddiman2003.pdf
  2. ^ http://www.whoi.edu/cms/files/ruddiman07revg_69184.pdf
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ "International Stratigraphic Chart". International Commission on Stratigraphy. Archived from the original on 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2012-12-06.
  5. ^ 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.

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