All Events

An unimaginably large explosion from an unimaginably small particle - according to modern theory the first moment of the universe

Hydrogen and helium nuclei form in the first three minutes, with perhaps another 300,000 years before they combine with electrons to form atoms

As gravity exerts its pressure within parts of the expanding fireball, subnuclear particles merge into more complex elements

The first galaxies begin to form, as self-contained gravitational systems with gases gradually coalescing into stars

The new star settles down, while nuclear dust in the vicinity coalesces into planets and asteroids orbiting the sun

The earth condenses into a solid sphere, with an inner core which is extremely dense and hot

The earth's surface settles into a heaving turmoil of rock and water

Fossilized bacteria have been found in rock 3.5 billion years old in Africa

Single-celled water creatures, such as algae, begin the 2-billion-year process of evolving into slightly more complex forms of life

Sponges and jellyfish drift in the sea, to be joined later by more purposeful shrimps and lobsters

The earliest known creature with a skeleton evolves as a form of fish

Plants, previously living only in the seas and rivers, begin to establish themselves on land

Insects become the first creatures capable of living their full life span out of the water - and the first to master flight

Amphibians develop lungs, enabling them to live on land as well as in the water

Reptiles develop evolutionary advantages for adaptation to a wide range of environments

The entire land surface of the earth merges into a single continent, known as Pangaea, which after about 50 million years splits in two

The dinosaurs dominate the planet in a way that no previous creature has been able to

The process of continental drift, beginning 200 million years ago, results eventually in our present arrangement of six continents

Archaeopteryx has the skeletal structure of a dinosaur and the feathers of a bird, intermediate between the two species

Primitive birds begin to feature in the fossil record

In a very short space of time the dinosaurs die out, for reasons as yet uncertain

Mammals evolve in many new forms on land and in the water, using opportunities made possible by the extinction of the dinosaurs

Australia becomes a separate land mass, isolating its living creatures. They evolve into many species unique to the area

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