This point in our atmosphere's history is the most polluted we have ever encountered as a species and if the data is anything to extrapolate on, we could be living in the worst in our planet's history.
Soil is preferred over the more common means of carbon dating such as trapped gaseous pockets in ice cores as gas pockets only date back several hundred thousand years.
What researchers have now discovered is the dust they've studied matches the data retrieved from ice cores, adding much-needed validity to the findings.
Geoscientist research from Texas A&M University has delved into the quality of ancient Chinese soil and by ancient, we mean between 1.8 and 2.5 million years ago.
What the carbon dust also does is date back further.
China is home to a specific region that houses the Loess Plateau, an area with dust that dates back over 22 million years and matches the aforementioned ice core data.
Our earliest understanding of human life only dates back to Homo Erectus, which translates literally to "upright man", which is the point our ancestors begin to walk upright about 2.5 million years ago.
During this period in time, the research shows that our early ancestors lived in an atmosphere with CO2 concentrations of around 250 parts per million.
This trend continued for quite literally millions of years until the industrial age and spiked in the mid-1960s to an alarming 415 parts per million.
In summary, we have lived in a relatively clean atmosphere until, not coincidentally, we began to burn fossil fuels at an exponential rate and started the climate change wheel turning.
We are now so deeply entrenched in fossil fuel reliance that the world's climate is shifting with dire consequences coming ever closer.