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.
(If the timeline doesn’t work, view the Text-only version)
To learn more about the formation of the Earth, the building blocks of life, and the conditions required for life to arise, visit A Place for Life: A special astronomy exhibit of Understanding Evolution.
To get a more detailed timeline of the history of life and learn more about deep time in general, visit the ChronoZoom Time Atlas of Earth History and Big History.
Learn more about the origin of life in context: From the origin of life to the future of biotech: The work of Andy Ellington, a research profile.
Learn more about human evolution in context: When it comes to evolution, headlines often get it wrong, a news brief with discussion questions.
Teach your students about timelines: A long time, a classroom activity for grades K-2.
Teach your students about the history of life: What came first?, a classroom activity for grades 6-8.
Find additional lessons, activities, videos, and articles that focus on the history of life.