Evolution of life on earth

The essentials

"Developing an understanding of history is essential for those who would influence the future."

—J. M. Freeland

Please find below your free information on the essentials on the evolution of life on Earth.

The information presented here is based on the study of rocks and of the fossils contained within them. Fossils are evidence of ancient life, and the atomic isotopes contained in the rocks carrying these fossils provide an estimate of the time when the fossils were alive.

For a brief description of what is known for a given prehistoric time frame, please click on one of the periods of interest below.

If you would like to include other information in this section, we would be happy to publish it for you. Just the information and we will endeavour to make it available to everyone free-of-charge (together with your name recorded forever on this site).

Happy reading...and learning!

Contents

  1. THE TIMELINE (Image Size: 72k)
    The name of the geological periods and eons of Earth's history
  2. PRECAMBRIAN PERIOD
    6,000 to 570 million years ago
  3. CAMBRIAN PERIOD
    570 to 505 million years ago
  4. ORDOVICIAN PERIOD
    505 to 438 million years ago
  5. SILURIAN PERIOD
    438 to 408 million years ago
  6. DEVONIAN PERIOD
    408 to 380 million years ago
  7. CARBONIFEROUS PERIOD
    380 to 286 million years ago
  8. PERMIAN PERIOD
    286 to 245 million years ago
  9. TRIASSIC AND JURASSIC PERIODS
    245 to 144 million years ago
  10. CRETACEOUS PERIOD
    144 to 64.5 million years ago
  11. PALEOCENE EPOCH
    64.5 to 59 million years ago
  12. EOCENE EPOCH
    58.9 to 34 million years ago
  13. OLIGOCENE EPOCH
    33.9 to 23.1 million years ago
  14. MIOCENE EPOCH
    23 to 5.3 million years ago
  15. PLIOCENE EPOCH
    5.3 to 2.7 million years ago
  16. PLEISTOCENE EPOCH
    2.6 to 11,000 years ago
  17. RECENT EPOCH
    11,000 years ago to the present
  18. TODAY
    The present
  19. THE NEXT EPOCH
    Will humans survive?
  20. Bibliography

Articles appearing in this section

  1. Study finds evidence of 'mass extinction': The Canberra Times. 10 September 2000.
  2. Soot a key source for global warming: The Canberra Times. 17 February 2001.
  3. Earth's drylands are slowly turning to dust: The Canberra Times. 12 July 2001.