Key Events in the History of the Universe and Man

 

From the Big Bang to the Birth of Civilization

 

  • 13.8 Billion Years Ago (BYA) –  Big Bang, and birth of the Universe.
  • 4.5 BYA – Birth of the Sun, Earth and Moon
  • 3.8 BYA – Life begins on Earth; the first single-celled organisms appear in the oceans.
  • 3.5 to 3 BYA – Multi-cellular organisms appear
  • 600 Million Years Ago (MYA) – Small, complex organisms appear in the oceans (Ediacaran Period)
  • 500 MYA – Diversity of life increases enormously in the Cambrian explosion; the first vertebrates and creatures with eyes appear
  • 475 MYA – Plants appear on land for the first time
  • 350 MYA – First flying insects appear
  • 300 MYA – Reptiles arrive on land
  • 200 MYA – Dinosaurs appear on Earth for the first time, and dominate life on land for the next 130 Million years
  • 150 MYA – Birds evolve from a subgroup of dinosaurs
  • 65 MYA – A huge comet crashes into the Gulf of Mexico, causing massive forest fires, throwing dust into the skies, and blocking the sun, leading to the extinction of three-fourths of the species on Earth at the time, the most famous among them being the dinosaurs.
  • 60 MYA – Primates appear on land
  • 50 MYA – Whales, dolphins and porpoises evolve from land animals
  • 20-15 MYA – Ancestors of Humans diverge from the Gibbon
  • 14 MYA – Ancestors of Humans diverge from the Orangutan
  • 7 MYA – First primates to walk on two legs appear
  • 7-6 MYA – Ancestors of Humans diverge from the Gorilla
  • 6-4 MYA – Ancestors of Humans diverge from the Chimpanzee
  • 2.3 MYA – The species Homo habilis starts using stone tools; brain size increases over the next 1 Million years.
  • 1.5 MYA – Human ancestors harness fire and make complex tools.
  • 100,000 Years Ago (YA) – Anatomically modern humans emerge out of Africa and displace other similar species.
  • 100,000 YA – Humans learn to talk
  • 50,000 YA – Humans enter Eurasia and South-East Asia
  • 40,000 YA – Humans enter Australia
  • 15,000 YA – Humans enter the Americas through the Bering land bridge between Russia and Alaska
  • 10,000 YA – Man begins to farm, and settles down in larger communities, giving up his hunter-gatherer lifestyle.
  • 6000 YA – The first civilizations rise in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley.

 

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