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Type: Journal article
Title: Neogene and quaternary coexisting in the geological time scale: the inclusive compromise
Author: McGowran, B.
Berggren, B.
Hilgen, F.
Steininger, F.
Aubry, M.
Lourens, L.
Van Couvering, J.
Citation: Earth-Science Reviews, 2009; 96(4):249-262
Publisher: Elsevier Science BV
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0012-8252
Statement of
Brian McGowran, Bill Berggren, Frits Hilgen, Fritz Steininger, Marie-Pierre Aubry, Lucas Lourens and John Van Couvering
Abstract: Removing the Tertiary and Quaternary Periods whilst conserving the Paleogene and Neogene Periods in The Geological Timescale 2004 caused a storm of protest. One response was to advocate restoring an enlarged Quaternary and consigning the Neogene to a minor role within the Tertiary. Amongst an array of practical, traditional, sentimental and anthropocentric reasons for this response, the one hard-core justification was that the rigidly nested hierarchy of the geological timescale must be preserved. The central objective of this paper is conserving the historically legitimate, Miocene-present, Neogene Period and System. There are two options for conserving the Quaternary concurrently with the Neogene: (i) an inclusive compromise in a flexible hierarchy, and (ii) an upgrading of Pliocene and Pleistocene divisions to the level of epoch. In the inclusive compromise there coexist alternative pathways through the hierarchical ranks. Thus geohistorians and biohistorians have two options for traversing the hierarchy from era to age, as in this example using the hierarchical positioning of the Calabrian Age and Stage:. either Cenozoic [era]↔Neogene [period]↔Pleistocene [epoch]↔Calabrian [age],. or Cenozoic [era]↔Quaternary [subera]↔Pleistocene [epoch]↔Calabrian [age]. We reaffirm that the inclusive compromise is entirely viable. In so doing we (i) challenge the necessity of the rigidly nested hierarchy, which should be capable of a little flexibility; (ii) reject all analogies of the arbitrary and conventional chronostratigraphic hierarchy with three natural biological hierarchies; (iii) reaffirm the integrity of the Neogene extending to the present; and (iv) see no reason to doubt the harmonious coexistence of the two options preserving the Quaternary and Neogene traditions in an orderly working and stable time scale. In the alternative schema conserving the Neogene, divisions of the Pliocene and Pleistocene are upgraded, so that the Late Pleistocene, Early Pleistocene and Late Pliocene Epochs comprise the Quaternary Subperiod, itself equivalent to Late Neogene. The inflexibly nested hierarchy is preserved but the Tertiary is lost. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: chronostratigraphic classification
Rights: © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2009.06.006
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