What Is the Age Of Humans? : Short Wave Humans have changed the Earth in such profound ways that scientists say we have entered a new geological period: the Anthropocene Epoch.

Debating When The 'Age Of Humans' Began

Debating When The 'Age Of Humans' Began

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A portion of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The Flinders Reef area of the Great Barrier Reef is one of 11 sites around the world where scientists are looking for decisive geological evidence of a new epoch called the Anthropocene. Grant Faint/Getty Images hide caption

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Grant Faint/Getty Images

A portion of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The Flinders Reef area of the Great Barrier Reef is one of 11 sites around the world where scientists are looking for decisive geological evidence of a new epoch called the Anthropocene.

Grant Faint/Getty Images

Humans have changed the Earth in such profound ways that scientists say we have entered a new geological period: the Anthropocene Epoch.

But when did the new epoch officially begin? And how, exactly, should it be defined? Those are the questions that geologists are pursuing with increasing urgency at sites around the world. Teams are studying 11 locations on five continents, looking for a place where rock, mud or ice perfectly capture the global impact of humans. Maddie talks to climate reporter Rebecca Hersher to talk about what they are looking for and how various disciplines are aiming to define the present.

This story was produced by Brit Hanson and Thomas Lu, edited by Gisele Grayson, and fact-checked by Rasha Aridi. The audio engineer for this episode was Josh Newell.