You might have heard about prehistoric times being called things like ‘the Jurassic period’, ‘the Cerozoic era’ or ‘the Cretaceous period’. These are all based on a Geological time scale – splitting the years by how the earth looked and what was alive.
Scientists decided on these different eras by studying layers of rocks; the different chemicals in the rocks and they different ways they were formed made stripes in the rocks and by working out how old each stripe – or stratum – was, they could tell what the earth was like at that time.
Now people are arguing about what to label the current time period. Many geologists argue that human development has changed the chemical composition of the earth and its atmosphere, and so we need a new name for this era.
They came up with ‘The Anthropocene Era’ (anthro meaning man, cene meaning new) and say that it probably started in 1610, when new industry as well as the movement of people across the oceans, made permanent changes to the earth’s biology: animals were transported to different countries, creatures and plants became extinct, and we started to create pollution.
Thus we humans have made an indelible impression on history!