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Coming of Age In The Anthropocene

   2020    Nature
At 11 o'clock on New Year's Eve of the Cosmic Calendar, Homo erectus stood up for the first time, freeing its hands and earning the species its name. They began to move around, to explore, daring to risk everything to get to unknown places. Our Neanderthal relatives lived much as we did and did many of the things we consider to be 'human.' More restless than their cousins the Neanderthals and Denisovans, our Homo sapiens ancestors crossed seas and unforgiving landscapes, changing the land, ocean and atmosphere, leading to mass extinction. The scientific community gave our age a new name, 'Anthropocene.'
Since the first civilizations we've wondered if there's something about human nature that contains the seeds of our destruction. Syukuro Manabe was born in rural Japan and took an intense interest in Earth's average global temperature. In the 1960's, he would assemble the evidence he needed to predict the increase of Earth's temperature due to greenhouse gases until it becomes an uninhabitable and toxic environment, leading to our extinction. 'This doesn't have to be,' says Neil deGrasse Tyson, 'it's not too late. There's another hallway, another future we can still have; we'll find a way.'
Series: Cosmos: Possible Worlds
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