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Rick T.C.,Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology | Kirch P.V.,University of California at Berkeley | Erlandson J.M.,University of Oregon | Fitzpatrick S.M.,University of Oregon
Anthropocene | Year: 2013

Island ecosystems and peoples face uncertain futures in the wake of predicted climate change, sea level rise, and habitat alteration in the decades and centuries to come. Archeological and paleoecological records provide important context for understanding modern environmental and sociopolitical developments on islands. We review and analyze human interactions with island ecosystems in Polynesia, the Caribbean, and California during the last several millennia. Our analysis demonstrates that human impacts on island ecosystems and cases of highly managed anthropogenic landscapes extend deep in the past, often beginning at initial settlement. There are important issues of scale and island physical characteristics, however, that make human ecodynamics on islands variable through space and time. These data demonstrate that current environmental problems have their roots in deeper time and suggest that the Anthropocene likely began by the onset of the Holocene, if not earlier. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Hofman C.,Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology | Hofman C.,University of Maryland University College | Rick T.,Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology
Ethnobiology Letters | Year: 2014

Domesticated dogs (Canis familiaris) are an important human companion around the world and have long been a focus of archaeological research. Zooarchaelogical analysis of six dogs from a Late Holocene Chumash village on Santa Rosa Island, California indicates that adults, juvenile/young adults, and a puppy were present. Similar to dogs on other Channel Islands, these dogs were large to medium in size, standing some 43-55 cm tall, with mesaticephalic or mild brachycephalic facial characteristics. No cutmarks were found on the bones, but one of the mandibles was burned. The CA-SRI-2 dogs appear to have eaten high trophic marine foods similar to what humans consumed, documenting the close bond between dogs and humans on the Channel Islands and broader North American Pacific Coast. © 2014 Society of Ethnobiology. Source

Smith B.D.,Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology | Zeder M.A.,Program in Human Ecology and Archaeobiology
Anthropocene | Year: 2013

A number of different starting dates for the Anthropocene epoch have been proposed, reflecting different disciplinary perspectives and criteria regarding when human societies first began to play a significant role in shaping the earth's ecosystems. In this article these various proposed dates for the onset of the Anthropocene are briefly discussed, along with the data sets and standards on which they are based. An alternative approach to identifying the onset of the Anthropocene is then outlined. Rather than focusing on different markers of human environmental impact in identifying when the Anthropocene begins, this alternative approach employs Niche Construction Theory (NCT) to consider the temporal, environmental and cultural contexts for the initial development of the human behavior sets that enabled human societies to modify species and ecosystems more to their liking. The initial domestication of plants and animals, and the development of agricultural economies and landscapes are identified as marking the beginning of the Anthropocene epoch. Since this transition to food production occurred immediately following the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary, the Anthropocene can be considered as being coeval with the Holocene, resolving the contentious "golden spike" debate over whether existing standards can be satisfied for recognition of a new geological epoch. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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