The Story of Our Existence

This is the story of our existence, summed up in bullet points!



13.8BYA – Cosmic inflation begins, initiating our universe into its current form

4.6B – Our native star was born out of a solar nebula collapse

4.54B – The Earth is formed

4.5B – Our moon is formed after a planet-sized body collided with Earth



3.95B – Earth’s oldest rock formed

3.8B – First evidence of replicating molecules, or “life”

3.4B – First photosynthetic organisms convert near-infrared light to sulfur or sulfate

2.7B – Oxygen-producing cyanobacteria emerge

2.5B – Significant levels of oxygen build up in the atmosphere



600MYA – Multicellular organisms evolve

541M – Cambrian Explosion!

465M – Plants colonize land

370M – Amphibians emerge from water and dominate land

250M – The Permian-Triassic Extinction kills 90% of marine life, and 70% of land life (greatest mass-extinction)



240M – Age of the Dinosaurs begins

  • Reptiles dominate land and water, became large
  • Angiosperms (flowering plants) arose
  • Mammals small in size

200M – Pangea breaks apart and eventually forms 7 continents, dinosaurs still reign as the dominant life forms

67M – Tyrannosaurs Rex and Triceratops evolve

66M – K-PG Mass extinction kills dinosaurs and 2/3 of species



60M – No longer competing for resources with the terrible lizards, mammals are able to grow larger and flourish, first primates emerge

30M – New World Monkeys emerge

25M – Apes speciate from Old World monkeys

15M – The great apes speciate from the ancestors of the gibbons

13M – Hominin ancestors speciate from the ancestors of the orangutan

10M – Hominin ancestors speciate from the ancestors of the gorillas

6M – Hominin ancestors speciate from the ancestors of the chimps



5M – Ardipithecus emerges, probably bipedal, feet still adapted for grasping

4M – Australopithecus afarensis emerges, fully bipedal

3.3-3.5M – Kenyanthropus platyops emerges, possible ancestor of Homo genus, stone tools constructed

3M – Australopithecines evolve in the Savannas of Africa, being hunted by Dinofelis, loss of body hair begins



2.8M – Homo appears in East Africa, sophisticated stone tools constructed

2.6M – Ice age begins

2.5M (to 50k, unknown) – Certain species of homo develop verbal language

1.8M – Homo erectus evolves in Africa, stone axes constructed, Homo georgicus (considered Homo erectus) covered very long distances and followed herds of prey animals (oldest hominin fossil found outside of Africa)

1.5M – Control of fire achieved by Homo ergaster (considered Homo erectus)

1.2M – Body hair mostly gone accompanied by darker skin, Homo heidelbergensis (may be common ancestor of Homo sapiens and Neanderthals, considered Homo erectus) was very large and developed more advanced cutting tools and may have hunted big game such as horses, the ancestors of Homo sapiens speciate from the ancestors of Neanderthals

500k BCE – Divergence of Neanderthal and Denisovan lineages from a common ancestor



200k BCE – Modern Homo sapiens emerge

39k BCE – First known cave drawings by H. sapiens

18k BCE – H. sapiens begin creating pottery

15k BCE – A population of H. sapiens crosses the bearing strait into Alaska

10k BCE – End of ice age, beginning of agricultural revolution



8.4k BCE– First known domesticated dogs

8k BCE – First known boats built

4k BCE – First large-scale civilization begins to form

3.7 BCE – Bronze Age begins, better tools developed

3.5k BCE – The wheel is invented

3.4k BCE – First known forms of writing

2.6k BCE – First Egyptian pyramids built

2.5k BCE – First known legal codes and fictional story are written

2.4k BCE – Construction of Stonehenge begins

1.2k BCE – Iron Age begins (see the poetic significance of iron

776 BCE – First recorded Olympic Games in Greece

214 BCE – Construction of Great Wall of China begins

800 AD – Chinese invent gunpowder

1000 – First eyeglasses invented by the Chinese

1450 – Printing press invented by Gutenberg

1500 – The Scientific Revolution begins

1609 – Galileo lives, designs telescope

1687 – Isaac Newton lives, formulates his 3 laws of motion

1760 – Industrial revolution begins

1870 – Second industrial revolution begins

1903 – First airplane is flown

1905 – Einstein develops Theory of Special Relativity

1950 – Information Age begins

Late 1960s – The first form of the internet is created. From our ancestors developing verbal language to communicate at short range between 2.5M and 50k years ago, to H. sapiens developing a system using materials processed by industrial means and applying knowledge of electromagnetism in order to communicate instantaneously over long distances, creating humankind’s common silicon brain within a few decades. Amazing!

1969 – Homo sapiens become the first Earthly species to consciously travel to a non-native celestial body! In other words, humans land on the moon. And, Woodstock concert.

Today – We are building technologies to venture to other celestial bodies, our means of communication is global, quality of life is better right now for humans than it has been for any other creature to ever live on Earth. We, big-brained apes, built the iPhone for goodness sake!


Why study our past? Well, I believe the past is a key to the door of our future. I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour of the story of our existence.

Further Reading:

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