A radiocarbon 'golden spike' found in a tree on an island in the Southern Ocean marks a new geological epoch during which human activity has been a dominant influence on earth.


Chris Turney, Jonathan Palmer and Mark Maslin suggest that a single tree provides a potential marker for the start of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch dominated by human activity.


Did the period of human impact on the natural environment begin only 215 years ago? Or is there a bigger story to tell, asks Darren Curnoe.