The First Mass Extinction
The Ordovician-Silurian Extinction affected nearly all taxonomic groups present at the time, wiping out nearly 85% of marine species.
The Second Mass Extinction
As Pangaea begins to form, the land is populated with plants and insects, and the oceans harbor massive coral reefs full of stromatoporoids (sea sponges). The Late Devonian..Read More
The Third Mass Extinction
The Permian-triassic Extinction was the third and most severe one recorded. Up to 96% of marine species, around 76% of terrestrial vertebrates species and 83% of insect genera..Read More
The Fourth Mass Extinction
Triassic-jurassic Extinction saw a whole class of marine life (Conodonts) disappear, along with up to 34% of marine genera. On land, the scenario is poorly understood, but there..Read More
The Fifth Mass Extinction
About three-quarters of plant and animal life died during the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction. Aside from a few turtle and crocodile species, no tetrapods weighing over 25 kilos survived...Read More
Beginning of the Pleistocene
The most recent period of repeated glaciation, colloquially known as the Ice Age.
Homo Erectus Begins to Spread
The earliest hominid species with a similar gait and morphology to ours. They are seen as the direct ancestors to many later species including H. heidelbergensis, H. antecessor,..Read More
Homo Neanderthalensis Spreads through Eurasia
The hominid species Homo sapiens coexisted with for the longest period. Their skulls were as large as ours if not larger, they made complex tools and were also..Read More
Homo Sapiens Appear in Africa
The earliest remains of Homo Sapiens were found in northern Africa. This period also marks the end of naturally occurring background extinctions.
African Megafaunal Extinction Spikes (+39% than rest of Pleistocene)
In Africa, there are 26 large animal extinctions over the next 100 thousand years, as opposed to 19 over the last 1.6 million (e.g. Machairodus skull).
Homo Sapiens Spread to Australia
Low sea levels and land bridges allow Homo sapiens to reach Australia.
Australian Megafaunal Extinction Spike
All land animals over 100kg, and six of seven genera over 44kg disappear around this time (e.g. Genyornis newtoni).
Above, modern human encroachment on Neanderthal-dominated territory. Hypotheses for the causes include conflict, competition and inter-breeding with modern humans, and failure to adapt to climate change. The answer..Read More
Homo Sapiens Cross the Bering Strait Into North America
Better adaptation to cold and mastery of navigation allow Homo Sapiens to reach North America and Canada through the Bering Strait.
Birth of the Clovis Complex
An early Paleo-American culture distinguished by the fabrication of complex hunting tools (e.g. Clovis Points).
North American Extinction Spike (+71% than rest of Pleistocene)
In North America, 35 large animal extinctions over the next 15 thousand years, as opposed to 16 in the previous 1.8 million (e.g. Mammuthus).
End of the last Ice Age
Deglaciation leads to natural regrowth of dense forests around the world and allows the development of agriculture.
Earliest human effects on Climate Change
Some scientists claim that natural oscillations in CO2 and methane levels were perturbed as early as 8000 years ago due to irrigation practices and livestock breeding.
Global CO2 at 280 parts per million
Led by the Europeans who have significantly cleared their forests by this time, global trade develops. This leads to heavier deforestation and soil erosion to support growing needs..Read More
Increase in Extinction Rates
Recent studies have shown that extinction rates are far above the natural rate, despite using very conservative estimates. As of the year 1500, mammals and birds are disappearing..Read More
Human population at 700 million
The Industrial Revolution is in full swing. Humanity harnesses the power of fossil fuels, mechanizing hand production methods and developing chemical manufacturing and iron production processes. Human population..Read More
The Sixth Mass Extinction
As of the 20th century, the accumulated harmful effects humans have been doling out to the environment begin taking a toll, and extinction rates skyrocket. Since 1900, mammals..Read More
Human population at 2 billion – CO2 at 310ppm
The Great Acceleration begins. Between 1900 and 1950, our implementation of the internal combustion engine and coal-powered electricity in our everyday lives leads to rapid population and economical..Read More
Human Population at 7.7 billion – CO2 at 410ppm
We are experiencing a Climate Crisis. CO2 levels are rising by 2.1ppm per year, and human population is growing by 1.1% per year, (Human population at 7.5 billion,..Read More