The Chibanian, widely known by its previous designation of Middle Pleistocene, is an age in the international geologic timescale or a stage in chronostratigraphy, being a division of the Pleistocene epoch within the ongoing Quaternary period. The Chibanian name was officially ratified in January 2020. It is currently estimated to span the time between 0.770 Ma (770,000 years ago) and 0.126 Ma (126,000 years ago), also expressed as 770–126 ka. It includes the transition in palaeoanthropology from the Lower to the Middle Palaeolithic over 300 ka.
|0.774 – 0.129 Ma|
|Name ratified||January 2020|
|Regional usage||Global (ICS)|
|Time scale(s) used||ICS Time Scale|
|Time span formality||Formal|
|Lower boundary definition||1.1 m below the directional midpoint of the Brunhes-Matuyama magnetic reversal|
|Lower boundary GSSP||Chiba, Japan|
|GSSP ratified||January 2020|
|Upper boundary definition||Not formally defined|
|Upper boundary definition candidates||Marine Isotope Substage 5e|
|Upper boundary GSSP candidate section(s)||None|
The Chibanian is preceded by the Calabrian and succeeded by the proposed Tarantian. The beginning of the Chibanian is the Brunhes–Matuyama reversal, when the Earth's magnetic field last underwent reversal. It ends with the onset of the Eemian interglacial period (Marine Isotope Stage 5).
The term Middle Pleistocene was in use as a provisional or "quasi-formal" designation by the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS). While the three lowest ages of the Pleistocene, the Gelasian, Calabrian and Chibanian have been officially defined, the Late Pleistocene has yet to be formally defined, along with consideration of a proposed Anthropocene sub-division of the Holocene.
The International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) had previously proposed replacement of the Middle Pleistocene by an Ionian Age based on strata found in Italy. In November 2017, however, the Chibanian (based on strata at a site in Chiba Prefecture, Japan) replaced the Ionian as the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy's preferred GSSP proposal for the age that should replace the Middle Pleistocene sub-epoch. The "Chibanian" name was ratified by the IUGS in January 2020.
The Chibanian includes the transition in palaeoanthropology from the Lower to the Middle Palaeolithic: i.e., the emergence of Homo sapiens sapiens between 300 ka and 400 ka. The oldest known human DNA dates to the Middle Pleistocene, around 430,000 years ago. This is the oldest found, as of 2016[update].
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