Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
by Staff Writers
Leicester, UK (SPX) Mar 28, 2014
A new study by an international team of scientists, including Dr Jan Zalasiewicz and Professor Mark Williams of the University of Leicester's Department of Geology, suggests that the fossil impact humans have made on the planet is vast and unprecedented in nature - and that there's been nothing remotely like it since the Earth formed, over four and half billion years ago.
The study, entitled 'The technofossil record of humans' and published by SAGE in The Anthropocene Review, argues that, like dinosaurs, who left their bones and footprints behind for future generations to discover, humans will also leave a footprint behind - one made up of material goods unique to mankind that are so different from anything else produced by animals in the history of the Earth that they deserve their own name: technofossils.
Dr Zalasiewicz said: "Palaeontologists call preserved animal-made structures trace fossils. Most animal species make only one - or at most a very few - different types of trace. For example, dinosaurs made footprints and worms leave burrows. Just one species, though, Homo sapiens, now manufactures literally millions of different types of traces that range from nano-scale to city-sized.
"Whereas trace fossils such as animal burrows changed their pattern with geological slowness, over millions of years, as the organisms that produced them evolved, the things that humans manufacture now evolve with lightning speed, as our factories bring new goods to the market each year - and make old ones obsolete. Many of the cast-off objects that now litter the landscape will become buried in sediment - and will be well on the way to becoming technofossils."
The study suggests that humanity's equivalent of the dinosaur's footprint will be in the form of a wide array of technofossils such as motorways, cities, airports, toothbrushes, ballpoint pens and mobile phones - everything that we build or manufacture.
Professor Mark Williams added: "Millions of years from now, long after humans have gone, technofossils will be the defining imprint on the strata of the human epoch that people increasingly call the Anthropocene.
"If any palaeontologists were to appear on - or visit - the Earth in the far geological future, they will think the technofossil layer more weird and wonderful, by far, than dinosaur bones. It's something to think about when you next park the wheelie bin at the end of the drive."
'The technofossil record of humans', can be found here in The Anthropocene Review.
University of Leicester
All About Human Beings and How We Got To Be Here
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|