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The Holocene (pronunciation: /, /) is the geological epoch that began after the at approximately 11,700 years before present. The term "Recent" (usually capitalised) has often been used as an exact synonym of "Holocene", although this usage is discouraged in 21st-century science. The Holocene is part of the Quaternary period. Its name comes from the Ancient Greek words ὅλος (holos, whole or entire) and καινός (kainos, new), meaning "entirely recent". It has been identified with the current warm period, known as MIS 1, and can be considered an interglacial in the current ice age based on that evidence.
The Holocene also encompasses the growth and impacts of the human species worldwide, including all its written history, development of major civilizations, and overall significant transition toward urban living in the present. Human impacts on modern-era Earth and its ecosystems may be considered of global significance for future evolution of living species, including approximately synchronous lithospheric evidence, or more recently atmospheric evidence of human impacts. Given these, a new term, Anthropocene, is specifically proposed and used informally only for the very latest part of modern history involving significant human impact.
|Subdivisions of the Quaternary System|
|In Europe and North America, the Holocene is subdivided into Preboreal, Boreal, Atlantic, Subboreal, and Subatlantic stages of the Blytt–Sernander time scale. There are many regional subdivisions for the Upper or Late Pleistocene; usually these represent locally recognized cold (glacial) and warm (interglacial) periods. The last glacial period ends with the cold Younger Dryas substage.|
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