Important Events in the History of Life

A timeline can provide additional information about life's history not visible on an evolutionary tree. These include major geologic events, climate changes, radiations of organisms into new habitats, changes in ecosystems, changes in continental positions, and widespread extinctions. Explore the timeline below to review some of the important events in life's history. 4600 Mya 3800 Mya 3500 Mya 555 Mya 500 Mya 450 Mya 420 Mya 360 Mya 4600 Mya 3800 Mya 3500 Mya 555 Mya 500 Mya 450 Mya 420 Mya 360 Mya
Important events in the history of life: 4500 to 360 Mya
4600 Mya-Earth forms 3800 Mya-DNA forms 3500 Mya-Bacteria evolves 535 Mya-Cambrian Explosion 500 Mya-Fish evolve 450 Mya-Land invertebrates evolve 420 Mya-Land plants evolve 360 Mya-Tetrapods evolve

Description of Important Events
250 Mya 248 Mya 225 Mya 130 Mya 65 Mya 4 Mya 130 Kya
250 Mya-Pangaea forms 248 Mya-Permo-Triassic Extinction 225 Mya-Dinosaurs and mammals evolve 130 Mya-Flowers evolve 65 Mya-Extinction of dinosaurs 65 Mya-Extinction of dinosaurs 4 Mya-Lucy lives 130 Kya-Modern humans evolve
Important events in the history of life: 359 Mya to Present 250 Mya 248 Mya 225 Mya 130 Mya 65 Mya 4 Mya 130 Kya

(If the timeline doesn't work, view the Text-only version)


Explore further
•  Origins of life
•  How did life originate?
•  Looking for the oldest fossils
•  Studying the origin of life
•  Human evolution

Teach this!
•  Lesson plans for teaching about timelines
•  Lesson plans for teaching about the history of life


The University of California Museum of Paleontology Geologic Timeline
Deep Time at PBS.org
Quick Quiz





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