Holocene, Meghalaya, Paul Vision discussed on Science Magazine Podcast
Hello. Welcome to the science podcast for August tenth, two thousand eighteen. I'm Sarah Crespi in this week show staff writer. Paul loosen joins us with a debate about the newly main mega lion age. That's the latest division of the Holocene epoch. Yes, there is a new name for what time that we live in and staff writer. Kelly surface here to talk about using one buck the samurai wasp to control another marmalade stink. And what happens when this type of bio control pose out of control and don't forget to tweet to us or write to us about this month's books will be reading the book of why the new science also affect. You can tweet to us at science magazine or Email us at science podcast at AS dot ORG. I hope we have staff writer, Paul vision. Hi, Paul, and we're gonna talk about the Meghalaya and that's not a super big lion, but a newly named division of Holocene epoch. That's the epic we live in and the mega lion is now the age that we live in. It's new age. Paul it is. Okay, welcome. So what are the borders of the Meghalaya n- we make a line starts about four thousand two hundred years ago and it ends well knows and right now and what is it named after? It's not actually even EMMY g. a. l. i. o. and how do you know tonight it's named after a northeast northeastern state in India and a cave that the golden spike for it was taken from. Can you tell me what golden again? He was reading. The paper does like this is a railroad term the golden spike. So for each time you have a new geological time period. You need a example of the rock record to specify. When this time period happened in this golden spike is the exemplar of this change. Okay. So let's talk about this decision to start a new age within an epic. So who gets to make that decision? So there's a bureaucracy is one of my favorite scientific institutions called the international commission on stratego v. and this association of geologists that governs geologic time and they have these long tenure debates about whether a age or stage or epoch should be named and the evidence for it. About ten years ago, there was an effort. They're looking at the Holocene and which is the last eleven thousand seven hundred years since the ice age and most recent time period and people seem to be using the terms early middle and late Holocene a lot. And really this came from an effort just to standardize what those dates meant. They already had a few markers in the Holocene at this point. No, they done. Have any just do the start of the Halsey. Okay. So they put all these divisions down, but this is the one the mega lion starting forty two hundred years ago or supposedly starting forty two hundred years ago. This is the most contentious. It is. Yeah. Why are people not happy with the Meghalaya n- particular when they divided the Holocene into three ages, it has to do with linking this beginning of this time this age to a drought that may or may not be global, right? There's evidence that drought existed in the Middle East and other areas, and that starting up nineteen nineties. This evidence I started to appear in the records and people start hunting for that all over the world. And one climatologist told me for every one sample where you do see a bump know these these little wiggles of record. Yeah, you might have to samples where you don't see it. The central arguments that's premature to take this as a really kind of defining global. Event and they didn't wanna just divide it into three equal parts. They wanted something to peg this time. Change too, right? Yes. So simply that's what they're trying to do was divide it into three quarts of the need to have some sort of signal in the rock record to those clearly visible. They can't just go divine willy nilly. There are still some people for this, right? They think that this was an important time. This is an important change. Is there a division between people who studied climate versus people who study rocks versus people who say, look at the archangel record, typically, when you think about geology, you're thing about really deep time and the past millions millions and billions of years ago? Yeah, the Holocene only eleven thousand years. I mean, they also named all the other times Vida tie. Right? And for those longer time periods, a lot of Pilat climate scientists, you know, they often look at things like ice core records still. I might that are not relevant for these long, deep geological time records, and these two communities don't really have a lot of crossover. And some people see that as the math station of the Meghalaya n- as an example of that are symptom of that where they didn't wait to see that there is broad consensus that existed. There is support for this from many people. There are signs of a bump at forty, two hundred or four thousand records really all seven continents, but signal as global strong event. Allow people question that and what about the archaeology went about what people were during that time. This is a very early period, have the rise, the Acadian empire, which is really what originated that this first evidence in Syria and some other civilizations. There's some evidence of claps or decline of these early civilizations. There could potentially head to the strout. Some archaeologists also disagree with some of these interpretations archaeology as a as a discipline. There's always a live interpretation that goes into it. And I know it's hard to have berry clear cases of climatically. Caused claps is my favorite part of the story is, as you mentioned, this is a ten year event. This is not something they're going to be able to take back anytime soon to think that in ten years, this is going to be revisited pretty seriously, I think so. You know, some of the evidence we site in the story hasn't been published yet, so wasn't even there for them to consider and fair enough that they would not consider until it's actually passed pure view and been published. The question is how much people really invest in taking the time to dispute. Thou people I've talked with have also said, oh, well, okay, the name this, and it's useful date to have as we do make these references to early middle late and no one's actually going to call it the Meghalaya lion, and you know where it's going, nor this and move on with our lives. This might cause enough dust for people to look at this or it might cause the pill climate community to come aware of this event because it had you kind of this cottage industry of people who did see it in their records and nad workshops about it, and others who really haven't been paying attention to it. So could increase focus on this on studying whether it is truly a global event or not. What would be the harm in leaving it that way? Think there'd be a ton of hard, but you know, it comes down to just proper science and you know if this is the standard they have for a signal, you want to be global, and there is a tential that given we have this event now and it's kind of standardizing given this premature that people them look at new halio climate records and CEO of this bump at three thousand nine hundred years ago, maybe time shift that a little bit. And that's indicative of this rotter event when actually it would not be there's a confirmation bias possibility, not necessarily, but it's possible outcome of this human endeavors can easily shape how signs conducted course. Yeah, speaking of which and another dust up about naming things. What about the anthropic seen? How does that the enterprising? How does that fit into this story? Yeah, it doesn't. Allow the initial coverage really thought it did. And so the enthroned a seen as a potential epic being debated still still being considered. There hasn't been a proposal the same body by the same body. This would take over from the Holocene not looking at these smaller divisions of the Holocene, but really just saying, oh humid, humanity started becoming this global shaping force at x. time here when when that be as of earlier this year, the target had been the late nineteen forties, early nineteen fifties. It's an time called the great acceleration when industrial revolution really kicked full steam globally emissions really spiked, and you have the global plutonium signal of atom bomb system. So that might be the next to bait in ten years. So it will certainly be Bill will be the next two years. All right. Thank you so much Paul. Yeah, you're welcome. Hall is in is a staff writer for science. You can find a link to his story at science bag dot org, slash. Podcasts, stay tuned for an interview with staff writer, Kelly servic about using samurai wasps to control marmalade stink, bugs that have invaded the United States, whether we want to or not.