NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM, LONDON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Geological timescale. Artwork showing the scale of geological time on the Earth (4.5 billion years) as an ascending spiral pathway. At bottom the Earth was molten as it formed, followed by periods of volcanism and the formation of the oceans. The first inset circle shows the cyanobacteria that oxygenated the atmosphere (around 2.4 billion years ago). This was followed by the evolution of marine life, then life on land. The other insets include a trilobite (526 million years ago), fish, dinosaurs (went extinct 65 million years ago), and (most recently) the Egyptian pyramids (4600 years ago), representing human civilisation.
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