Evolution of the World
From the Big Bang to Civilization
15,000 Mya: Big Bang !
15,000 Mya: Beginning of our Universe
- 14,500,000,000 years ago !
4,000 Mya: Our Sun and planets coalesce
2,000 Mya: Land solidifies and water condenses from the atmosphere
1,000 Mya: Start of life
500 Mya: Complex marine life like the trilobite =>
440 Mya: the whole planet freezes over
- a REAL ice age lasting 20 Myears, followed by
4 more major extinctions where >80% species die
400 Mya: Sharks
250 Mya: Appearance of first dinosaurs
200 Mya: The first land mass starts to split up into our modern continents
150 Mya: Golden age of dinosaurs... until extinction ~ 65 Mya
- Pictures from G. Rymill -
135 Mya: First mammal (small mouse)
100 Mya: Mammals take over
- 65 Mya: Mass extinction of dinosaurs as well as 85% of land and
- 60 Mya: First primates (lemurs)
- 50 Mya: First horses
- 40 Mya: First monkeys
- 15 Mya: Great apes diverge from monkeys
10 MYa: Hominids
- 6 Mya: Appearance of bipedal apes distinct from the ancestors of chimps and gorillas ( click on images for better view! ) Morphological changes in going from ape to Homo Sapiens (see TIME article):
- Larger brain and smaller jaw changes the skull shape
- Prehensile toe disappears and aligns with other toes
- Legs become longer and stronger
- Arms shorten
- 2.6 Mya: Paranthropus bosei: Bipedal ape who shared the earth with some early Homo species, such as H. habilis, physiology tailored to a diet of grubs and plants. 4.5 feet tall, 40% brain of Sapiens. Disappeared around 1.3 Mya.
- 2.5 Mya: Homo_habilis, first real hominid:
Oldowan) to get a cutting edge on stones. These humans likely subsisted on scavenged meat and wild plants, rather than by hunting prey. H. habilis dies out around 1,500 Kya.
- 1.8 Mya: Homo erectus: the precursor to modern man. A naked ape with a much larger brain than his predecessors, H. erectus survives for about 1.5 million years (the longest of any hominid species). The african branch of the species is sometimes called Homo ergaster. During his existence, Erectus learns to control fire and develops better stone tools (the Acheulean handaxe). Discovery of spearheads dated 1,5 Mya shows Erectus to have evolved from prey to hunter. Thus equiped, H. erectus migrated out of Africa (~ 1Mya) to populate Europe and Asia. Erectus is thought to have constructed the first "boats" (bamboo rafts) to spread through the Indonesian islands about 850,000 years ago. In spite of these achievements, H. erectus had deficient vocal structures and it is doubtful wether he developed even crude language (Wikipedia); and he did not produce any drawings or decoration, signs of abstract thought. H. erectus is replaced by more advanced hominids from Africa around 200 Kya. However, recent digs suggest that some Erectus descendants survived as pygmies on Flores until 13,000 years ago.
1 Mya: Erectus and Neanderthals
During this period, climate consists of repeated glacial cycles lasting about 200,000 years separated by warm spells. At the extreme, some continental glaciers reach the 40th parallel and cover up to 30% of the world's land mass. Typically, England is covered in ice for periods of 10,000 years. (see Wikipedia)
Each glacial advance ties up huge volumes of water in continental ice sheets 1500–3000 m thick, resulting in sea level drops of 100 m or more. During glaciations, England is connected to Europe, Ethiopia to Arabia, Sumatra to Malaysia and Siberia to Alaska. Map of the last ice age.
1000 Kya, Homo antecessor / heidelbergensis Intermediate species bridging
the gap between H. erectus, the first hominid to people the planet and the
second wave: the Neanderthals then us, Homo Sapiens. [ Wikipedia ]
800 Kya: First use of rafts by eastern H. Erectus to spread throughout Indonesia. On the other hand, the asian hominids never progress beyond basic Oldowan tools.
Generalized use of FIRE
(700 Kya - 400 Kya )
300 Kya: Neanderthals Almost humans. Found in Europe and Asia Minor [Map]. Developed better (Mousterian) stone blades and started attaching them to wood handles to obtain axes - as we know them, adzes (useful to hollow out logs) and spears. Probably the first to wear clothes: skins and furs, and start migrating towards the frozen north. [ Wikipedia ]
200 Kya: Homo sapiens
First appears in Eastern Africa but doesn't spread over the globe for another 100,000 years.
100 Kya: Rise of H. Sapiens
Homo Sapiens evolves along side other humanoids around Ethiopia. Uses Mousterian stone tools and develops burial rites. The H. Sapiens migration across the planet is detailed in the Bradshaw Journey of Mankind video.
74 Kya: Toba Catastrophe - The largest volcanic explosion in 25 million years boosts the current ice age into overdrive. Many species become extinct and the world's human population is reduced to about 5,000 people.
70 Kya: The gene associated with speech appears about this time
40 Kya: H. Sapiens reaches Australia and Europe where they are know as Cro Magnon
Abundant artwork (paintings and figurines) from this period are indications symbolic thought and fully developped language
20 Kya: H. Sapiens reaches America via the Bering land bridge
20 Kya: Extinction of the Neanderthals [ Video ]
12 Kya: Mesolithic culture
Click for tools.
10,000 ya: Start of Civilization
- polished stone axes and tools
- timber longhouses
- 10,000 BCE in Mid East (Jericho) and China
- 7,000 BCE in India / Pakisan
- 5,000 BCE in Europe
Then progress takes off....
5,000 BC: Invention of the WHEEL
3,000 BC: Start of Bronze Age
- Invention of the WRITING cuneiform on clay
- Menes unifies Upper and Lower Egypt
- Use of Hieroglyphs
2,500 BC: Cheops builds the great Pyramids at Giza
- Minoan civilization on Crete
2,100 BC: Xia, first dynasty of China
1,800 BC: Shang dynasty & writing system (pictograms on shells)
1,200 BC: Iron Age
- Phoenicians emerge as ship builders using cedars of Lebanon
- Master traders for the next 900 years
- Trojan Wars
750 BC: Founding of Rome
- Homer writes the Illiad & Odyssey
500 BC: Classical period of Greece
250-150 BC: Punic wars (Rome versus Carthage)
- Dates are expressed in Mya (millions years ago ) or Kya ( thousands of years ago )
References:- Bruce McEvoy's Handprint Site
- R. Ciochon's Bioanthropology Site (U. Iowa)
- Juan Carlos Ocaña Prehistory Pages
- Ecotao Evolution Site
- Gavin Rymill Dinosaur Pages
- Wikipedia Dinosaur Pictures