Geologist, Cowboys, Middle East discussed on Science Friday

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Age. Listener support w NYC studios. This is science Friday, replay to- coming up the endangered fossil treasures of Utah's newly slimmed-down national monuments. We'll talk about the potential loss of important fossils at grand staircase and bears years, but I, there are around one hundred named ages in geology, no, all those. If you're challenges, my heart goes out you to remember all these. And now a recent proposal wants to add a new one dating around forty two hundred years ago. He'd has set off a debate between geologists and archaeologists about what the ancient world really was like back then John, I mean out to talk about that and other selected short subjects. Incites is Emily new. It's science journalist and book author based in San Francisco. She joins us from k. q. e. d. welcome back. Hey, thanks for having me. I know this is one of your favorite subjects. Right, right. Yes, it is. So what does this debate about what who is saying? We need a new geological age and why Phyllis in on this. So we actually do have a new geological age. It's called the Megan land age. It's named after a state in India. And as you said, it starts about forty two hundred years ago and it goes up into the present and it's been the source of incredibly bitter debates between geologists and archaeologists because the way that geologists decide that there's a new age on earth is that they have to identify some kind of huge event that's changed the ecosystems of earth to kind of justify. All right. Now we're in a new age here. And so some of these events are things like ice ages, or you know, a meteorite hitting the earth, things that we recognize kind of catastrophic. So for the mega land aid, what geologists argue is that there was a global drought that affected the course. Of human civilization, because remember this is a period when we actually have human cities and writing and people are kind of doing their thing. And what are Kiala GIS are saying is no, actually, we don't really have evidence that there was a drought that was altering civilization. Wow. So it's like the farmers and the Cowboys should be free. I mean, so what so what happened is to they advance that there was a global drought. So most of the evidence really does come from archaeological sources. And so in some ways, the debates around this and there are many debates that I won't even get into here really boil down to how do the physical sciences and the social sciences talked to each other about data. And so what we see our, there's evidence in the written record that cities were abandoned in the Middle East and in North Africa. During this time, we have evidence for a lot of political instability in a lot of these places and geologists look at that, and they combine it with evidence from the the sort of from earth science records, and they say, look, this was obviously a civilization changing events, but archaeologists say, no, they say actually, a lot of these written records are poems that were written in the form of lamentations that were typical of the time these these. Aren't really people going through a catastrophe. They're just sort of writing poems in ancient Egypt. Like in the style of like IMO music today, you know, they're just sort of feeling sad and a lot of these urban abandonments that we see, for example, in the Middle East weren't really people abandoning civilization, they were just moving there were migrating. And so we see civilization transforming, but was it really enough of a catastrophe for us to say that we're living in the mega lay age. Now that's skinny. Continue to be a huge debate, especially when you add in questions about whether we should be in the anthropic scene, which is a different age where you know, human civilization has changed enough of the earth that we can say. All right, maybe we're in a new age. So that's a whole other debate on and that kind of gets into this as well. But by they're saying that they're across the whole globe, Egypt other places. We're all in this transition at the same time they. So that's what geologist run argue and the international commission on stratego fee. Which is the group of geologists that controls time by making these names..

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