Holocene Epoch - Age of Humans

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 26, 2022, 14:02

Holocene Epoch also popularly known as Anthropocene Epoch is a geologic period that began 11,700 years ago after the last major ice age and still is present in today’s age. This most recent period is a subsection of the quaternary period and was a new beginning era after the Pleistocene epoch. The Holocene Epoch has seen the rise of humankind and the impact it placed on their existing environment.

The climate of the Holocene Epoch Period

The Pleistocene ice age paved the way to a warmer and stable climate for the Holocene Epoch.

The earth fluctuated between phases of warming and cooling periods; the warming periods were warmer than the summer we experience today, whereas the cooling period had been limited to a few degrees. During this age, the earth also witnessed what we saw as the Medieval warm period and Little Ice Age.

The Medieval warm period saw a staggering natural rise in the temperature between 900CE to 1300. These warm conditions were caused due to a potential increase in solar radiation and the absence of volcanic activity which had increased the temperature in the atmosphere. This also accounted for a period when the old Vikings were settling in the lands of Greenland and Iceland.

Later in 1550 and 1850, the earth was seen with another climatic phenomenon which was termed the Little Ice Age. The Little Ice Age saw a cold period, where temperatures dropped 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit due to lower solar radiation and erupting volcanic activities that cooled the planet by ejecting aerosol particles that reflected sunlight into space. Moreover, this led to mass starvation and famine as the temperature was inadequate to grow any sort of vegetation or crops.

The passing of the Little Ice Age period led to warmer and stable weather conditions which continue up to this day.

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Holocene Epoch - Animal & Vegetation

The Holocene Epoch period also saw the depletion and extinction of many animal species; Some of the animals that saw the face of extinction were the mammoths, sabre-toothed cats, giant sloths, cave bears, woolly-rhinoceroses, etc. These animals were accustomed to living in cold climatic conditions but due to the warming of the Holocene Epoch, the survival chances of such animals decreased which led to their extinction. Apart from this, another factor that contributed to the extinction of animals, is hunting. Humans started hunting animals to satisfy their hunger and feed their families hence they killed large and small mammals.

After that, the extinction cycle of animals continued with Lemur, Dodo, Tasmanian tiger, etc. With the trend in the extinction of animals, the plants and vegetation were also drastically affected.

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Holocene Epoch - Human Development

The Holocene Epoch is the era where man has seen rapid development. In this era, humans started to understand the concepts of agriculture, domestic animals, and communities. Some evidence of early communities and settlements could be Jericho which is still present in Palestine (West Bank) and is regarded as the oldest city in the world. The emergence of cultures, pottery, better hunting tools, food gathering, added defence, etc. added up to the progress man was making.

The Holocene Epoch has seen a rise in the human power of knowledge and a technologically growing era, where we can predict, understand, and help conserve the earth in all ways possible.

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FAQs on Holocene Epoch

Q.1 Who are the dominant species in the Holocene Epoch?

Humans are the dominant species in the Holocene Epoch period.

Q.2 In which era was agriculture first practised?

Agriculture was first practised in the Holocene Epoch era.

Q3 Which period are we living in at present?

At present, we are living in the Holocene Epoch era.

Q.4 What is another name for the Holocene Epoch era?

The Holocene Epoch era is also known as the age of humans."