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Hundreds of citations refer to an Anthropocene era, an Anthropocene period, an Anthropocene epoch, and an Anthropocene age.
In fact, the term “Anthropocene” is so widely employed that many users must be quite unaware of the formal rank terms of geologists. If the rank of era is appropriate for the Anthropocene, the direct corollary is that the Cenozoic era, which began approximately 66 million years ago with the demise of the nonavian dinosaurs, has ended.
A quick search in the scientific and popular literature for the term “Anthropocene” reveals an obvious lack of consensus on its rank.
The Bronze Age reflects neither a specific starting date nor a duration of a specific number of years.
Rather, it begins and ends at different dates at different places on the basis of the presence or absence of specific features in the development of the civilization present in a particular place.
If the Anthropocene is a period, then the Quaternary period, which began approximately 2.6 million years ago at a time of major glacial-interglacial fluctuation, has ended.
If it is an epoch, then the Holocene epoch – the interglacial (warm) interval that began 11,800 years ago – has ended.