News of the WeekGEOSCIENCE

The Quaternary Period Wins Out in the End

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Science  05 Jun 2009:
Vol. 324, Issue 5932, pp. 1249
DOI: 10.1126/science.324_1249a

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Strict constructionists have been insisting for decades that the modern rules for dividing up geologic time do not permit the Quaternary period, the past 2.6 million years of the geologic time scale, when humans took up tools and the world began slipping in and out of the ice ages. But on 21 May, the final committee vote on the question was announced, and pending an almost certain ratification by the ultimate authority—the International Commission on Stratigraphy—the quaternarists will endure.