The technofossil record of humans

March 27, 2014


Can you spot the techno fossil?

Can you spot the technofossil?

Hayley Keen on:

Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Waters, C.N., Barnosky, A.D. & Haff, P. (2014) The technofossil record of humans. The Anthropocene Review, 1, 34-43.

An interesting research article introducing a stratigraphy (technostratigraphy) for and within the Anthropocene, stratigraphic markers are defined as “fossils” left behind by humans (technofossils); for example Iron Age tools from around 1000 BC. The article is driven by the need to:

  1. characterise the deposits, and
  2. date and correlate strata,

of (and within) the Anthropocene in a similar manner to other periods of geological time. By using technofossils from the different stages of homonid technological development Zalasiewicz et al. argue that a chronology can be developed and applied to the Anthropocene concept. Furthermore, Zalasiewicz et al. provide examples of how technofossils, such as pottery and mobile phones, could be used to produce a high resolution (sub-centennial) dating and correlation of strata; so far an unreachable target for other periods of geological time. The paper provides a thought provoking insight the definition of strata throughout geological time, and a novel technique into how this could be done in the Anthropocene.



The Anthropocene Review – reviewed

March 26, 2014

AnthropoceneReviewThe Anthropocene Review is a new journal focusing on the impact of humans on planet Earth through time; information on the latest publications can be found on the associated blog.

Given that much of the research we are interested in relates human-environment interactions in the past we decided to take a closer look at the range of articles being covered by this journal. Our thoughts on seven articles published in the first issue of The Anthropocene Review will appear in a series of blog posts soon. To get started here are a list of the papers we will be covering:

Full Anthropocene Review table of contents here.




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