Dinosaurs Disappeared Today

Really. If Earth's history was placed on a calendar with each day representing about 10 million years, dinosaurs became extinct on December 1st.

From January to March, there is little sign of life, then the first single cell microbes appear in early April, with small multicellular clumps forming later in the month. In May vertebrates (fish) emerge, and by July land plants have begun to cover the globe.


In mid-September fish crawl up on land and early reptiles preview the dawn of the dinosaur era, which continues through late November, dominating the world. Birds and small shrew-like mammals first appear in early November, but are overshadowed by reptilian species until today, the first of December, when the dinosaurs disappear abruptly, practically overnight.

By late December, the recognizable ancestors of modern mammals make their debut, but not until noon on New Year's Eve do our first ancestors appear. Between 9:30 and 10:00 pm, Homo sapiens migrate out of Africa to populate Eurasia and the Americas. At 11:59 pm, one minute before midnight, human history and civilization as we know it begins, and virtually all recorded history occurs in the last 10 seconds.

Dec 31 11:59PM - Cave paintings in Europe
Dec 31 11:59:20PM - Invention of agriculture
Dec 31 11:59:35PM - First towns
Dec 31 11:59:50PM - First dynasties in Egypt
Dec 31 11:59:51PM - Invention of alphabet
Dec 31 11:59:52PM - Bronze metallurgy, invention of compass
Dec 31 11:59:53PM - Iron metallurgy, founding of Carthage by Phoenicians
Dec 31 11:59:54PM - Ch'n Dynsasty China, birth of Buddha
Dec 31 11:59:55PM - Euclidean geometry, Roman Empire, birth of Christ
Dec 31 11:59:56PM - Zero and decimals invented, birth of Mohammed
Dec 31 11:59:57PM - Mayan civilization, Byzantine empire, Crusades
Dec 31 11:59:58PM - Renaissance in Europe, voyages of discovery, science
Dec 31 11:59:59PM - Technology, global culture, planetary exploration, SETI

We'll remind you of this on New Year's Eve so you'll have something to think about as the clock ticks down to 2007.

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