The history of the earth is awe inspiring, why of course it is. Without history, we wouldn’t understand who we are or how we came to be.
History has taught us things about ourselves – both good and bad – so it’s nice to be able to comprehend history’s timeline.
If we compare the history of the earth to the distance from one place to another, we could run parallel with the distance between Los Angeles, California and New York City. Imagine a map, and imagine the line which extends from the west coast to the east – isn’t this the best way to understand how we came to be?
From the beginning
Our earth is 4.5 billion years old. In the beginning, starting at Los Angeles, 2450 miles from New York City on the map, we see the earth being formed. Only 50 miles further, we see the moon coming into existence, the equivalent of just over 4 billion years ago.
At 2100 miles, the first rock is formed on the earth, emerging from the waters. At 3.8 billion years ago, or a little over 2 thousand miles from New York City, the first replicating molecules were formed. Life made its first appearance, and the earth was never the same!
It wasn’t until we traveled halfway between point A and point B, that we noticed oxygen levels rise to significant measures in the earth’s atmosphere. This was still a lengthy 2.5 billion years ago. Around 600 million years ago, or 324 miles from New York City, multi-cellular organisms formed.
Between 600 million and 200 million years ago, an intense drama unfolded on our planet. First, plant life populates the earth, amphibians emerge and the first extinction wipes out 99% of the earth’s lifeforms. Yikes! A whole cycle was created and destroyed within 400 million years, but that is a long time, after all.
At 240 million years ago, the mirror of 130 miles from New York City, the dinosaurs appear. Forty million years later, Pangea breaks into the 7 continents we know today. At 35 miles to New York City, or 66 million years ago, KPG mass extinction wipes out two-thirds of the species including the dinosaurs.
The age of US!
With the dinosaurs gone, the age of the mammals thrive. Hominids evolve from chimps between 3 and 20 miles from our destination in the Big Apple. In history’s timeline, this would have been 6 million years ago. Woah!
Millions of years pass before hominids develop the use of tools and then evolve into the humans we are today. This happened within a mile of New York City on the parallel map. Finally, we are fashioned into the form of modern human at about 200,000 years ago.
Around 5,000 years ago, we started recording our history, and 2,000 years ago, Jesus is crucified. This happened all within a few feet from our destination in New York.
If you are a citizen of the United States, or if you’re not, you may be interested to know that Americans became independent at about 8 inches from our destination or a little over 200 years ago. But of course, you probably already knew that. Then, at 0.8 inches away from the center of our location, we entered the information age-25 years ago, today.
Our timeline seems lengthy from our point of view. The distance from Los Angeles to New York City seems daunting when taking a road trip and it may even feel as if we live forever from each other. The thing is, we have been in existence for a moment. In comparison with time itself, we have only been alive in the blink of an eye. This puts things in perspective, wouldn’t you say.
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