The term Holocene means "completely recent" This refers to the present geological era. In fact it is hardly even worth defining in geological terms as an epoch, because it is so brief.. The boundary between the Pleistocene and the recent is set at around 10,000 years BCE (12,000 years ago), which represented a marked climatic warming phase and the beginning of the present interstadial (warm period between glaciations). The change is well established in a number of sediments, especially in Scandinavia, and corresponds to the boundary between the European Pollen Zones III/IV, the Younger Dryas/Preborial, and also the Late Glacial/Postglacial.
All other ages, epochs, and eras are represented by natural evolutionary and geological phenomena. The Holocene in contrast is distinguished by being the Age in which human activities have had a marked, and for the most part extremely detrimental, effect on the rest of the biosphere. Yet at the same time this age has witnessed the rise of civilization and the exponential development of the Noosphere. The ten thousand years of its extent are too short to see much in the way of the evolution of species and ecosystems, but natural processes of erosion and sedimentation have been supplemented by human activities and geographical impacts; the rise of towns, fields, roads, etc. And there has been an exponential growth in human population and knowledge.
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