Rull, V. 2017. The “Anthropocene” uncovered. Collectanea Botanica, 36: e008. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3989/collectbot.2017.v36.008
The “Anthropocene” uncovered.— The “Anthropocene”, defined as a new geological epoch characterized by the global human footprint on Earth System, has become a term frequently used in a varied range of fields. However, some fundamental misconceptions remain on the origin and the scientific validity of this term. A common misconception is that the “Anthropocene” term and concept originated at the beginning of this century but the truth is that the concept was fully developed more than 140 years ago. Another frequent fallacy is that the “Anthropocene” is already a formal geological term. However, the process of its formalization as a new unit of the Geological Time Scale has not even begun. Another poorly addressed aspect is the significance of future human developments, from both cultural and evolutionary points of view, in the eventual definition of a new geological epoch as the “Anthropocene”. This essay discusses these aspects for a non-specialized audience. The potential consequences of the uncontrolled human pressure on Earth System and the need for redressing our relationship with the planet are not under discussion. This essay is concerned only with the initiative of using this argument to propose that we have entered a new epoch of the Geological Time Scale.