23 Facts From Earth’s Violent History in Chronology

1Mitochondria

Mitochondria are believed to be evolved from specialized bacteria that merged with our cell’s cytoplasm 1.5 billion years ago. This explains why it contains its own DNA.


2Humanity

All humanity has a common (8000x) grandmother. An African woman who lived 200,000 years ago is the common maternal ancestor of all humans alive today.


3Carboniferous period

358 million years ago Earth was in the Carboniferous period. During that age oxygen levels were 15% higher than today thanks to the abundance of plant life, which meant scorpions were the size of dogs, a caterpillar was the size of an anaconda and dragonflies were the size of eagles.


4Mass extinction

There were four mass extinction events before the one that killed the dinosaurs. The most severe killed a staggering 97% of all species. All life on Earth today is descended from the 3% that survived.


5Zealandia

The Earth has another continent called Zealandia. The entire continent sank after breaking away from Australia around 65-80 million years ago.


6Shanidar 1

A Neanderthal who is now named “Shanidar 1” was buried approximately 45,000 to 35,000 years ago. Despite several injuries and disabilities from early in his life that would have made it impossible to survive on his own, he lived to relatively old age (40 to 50) with the help of others.


7Prototaxites

400 million years ago, before trees took over, Earth was covered in 24-foot mushrooms called prototaxites.


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8Y-Chromosomal Adam

Our genes show that we all share a male ancestor who is called Y-Chromosomal Adam. He lived approximately 208,300 years ago.


9Earth

More than 4 billion years ago, Earth was hit by several objects larger than 600 miles that could vaporize the oceans and sterilize the surface yet bacterial life survived deep underground and each time recolonized the planet.


10Natural nuclear reactor

About 1.7 billion years ago, there was a natural nuclear reactor that ran for a few hundred thousand years. The existence of this phenomenon was discovered in 1972 at Oklo in Gabon in Central Africa by French physicist Francis Perrin.

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