History of Earth in 75 mins

We listened to a special "but we digress" episode of the Common Descent Podcast, in which the entire history of the earth was traversed at a scale of 1 second = 1 million years. JA put together a slide presentation to accompany the audio, and did his best to synchronise pictures and sound.

Not a lot happened until the end, but we learned lots of interesting facts along the way.

Life started not long after the formation of the earth, about 15 minutes (900 million years) from the start, but didn't really take off until the Cambrian Explosion by which time more than an hour (4 billion years) had elapsed.

Supercontinents came together regularly and broke up again throughout the podcast with Pangea, the most recent, forming during the Carboniferous period only to be pulled apart during the Jurassic.

Dinosaurs made a late entry just 3 minutes (200 million years) from the end, and were wiped out with just 1 minute (60 million years) to go.

Flowering plants, as we know them today, didn't spread until 2 minutes (125 million years) before the end, followed by grasslands about 90 seconds later.

It was humbling to hear that hominins first appeared just 5 seconds (5 million years) before the end and that the whole of recorded human history flashed by in just a hundredth of a second (0.01 million years).

Further Information

  • The episode can be listened to on-line at PodBean History of Earth.
  • A spreadsheet of the full list of events and dates used in the episode can be downloaded from the podcast's Patreon site at Patreon History of Earth.
  • The University of California Museum of Paleontology has an interactive time scale at Berkeley geo time scale - click on the links for detailed information about each time period.
  • The Virtual Fossil Museum also has an interactive time scale at Fossil museum time scale - click on the links for more details.