A brief review of history. There are many timelines on the Web, here's a nice one: "Putting Time In Perspective" [http://www.waitbutwhy.com/2013/08/putting-time-in-perspective.html].


For pre-history on the cosmic scale, see my page on Astronomical Measurements.

Here is pre-history on a geologic and paleontologic scale. The paleontologic scale edges on to history, which is traditionally human-centric.

Here is the human taxonomy. It is interesting to see how the more granular classifications fit into the evolution.

  • Domain Eukaryota. A eurkaryote is an organism with a nucleus or nuclei.
  • Kingdom Animalia. An animal does not have cell walls and is a heterotroph that ingests food.
  • Phylum Chordata. A chordate has a notochord (rod shaped backbone like thing) and a muscular tail.
  • Subphylum Vertebrata. A vertebrate has a backbone or spinal column.
  • Class Mamallia. A mammal has mammary glands, hair, and is endothermic (warm blooded).
  • Order Primates. A primate has five fingers, and fingernails. Includes the suborders: Strepsirrhini (non-tarsier prosimians) and Haplorrhini (Tarsiers, Monkeys, and Apes). This split occurred 63 MYA.
  • Suborder Haplorrhini. Haplorrhines, the "dry-nosed" primates include the infraorders: Tarsiiformes (Tarsiers) and Simiiformes (Simians). This split occurred 58 MYA.
  • Infraorder Simiiformes. Simians include the parvorders: Platyrrhini (New World monkeys) and Catarrhini. This split occurred 40 MYA.
  • Parvorder Catarrhini. Includes the superfamilies: Cercopithecoidea (Old World Monkeys) and Hominoidea (Apes). This split occurred 25 MYA.
  • Superfamily Hominoidea. Hominoids are the apes and include the families: Hylobatidae (the Lesser Apes or Gibbons) and Hominidae (the Great Apes). This split occurred 18 MYA.
  • Family Hominidae. Hominids are the great apes and include the subfamilies: Ponginae (Orangutans) and Homininae (Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and Humans). This split occurred 14 MYA.
  • Subfamily Homininae. Hominines include the tribes: Other subtribes: Gorillini (Gorillas) and Hominini (Chimpanzees and Humans). This split occurred 7 MYA.
  • Tribe Hominini. Hominins include the subtribes: Paninina (Chimpanzees) and Homonina (Humans and extinct relatives). This split occurred 6.3/5.4 MYA.
  • Subtribe Homonina. Hominans include the following genera, all of which are extinct except for Homo:
    • Sahelanthropus. This genus has a singular species, Sahelanthropus tchadensis. Like a mix between Chimpanzee and human. Oldest possible candidate of this subtribe. Controversy. 7/6 MYA.
    • Orrorin. This genus has a singular species, Orrorin tugenensis. Controversy. 6.1/5.8 MYA.
    • Ardipithecus. The size of a Chimpanzee but bipedal and with teeth more like the Australopithecus. 5.8/4.2 MYA.
    • Two genera are both called australopithecines and are considered the immediate ancestors of Homo. Brain cavity: 400-430 cm3.
      • genus Australopithecus. The famous "Lucy" of 3.9/3 MYA was a specimen of Australopithecus afarensis. 4.4/1.7 MYA.
      • genus Paranthropus. 2.7/1.3 MYA.
    • Kenyanthropus. This genus has a singular specimen, Kenyanthropus platyops, which if not its own genus, then may be a australopithecines or a homo. 3.5/3.2 MYA.
    • Homo.
  • Genus Homo. Homos include the following species, all of which are extinct except for Homo sapiens.
    • Homo habilis (Man with ability). Tool user but possibly not of the genus homo. Brain cavity: 590-650 cm3. 2.5/1.8 MYA.
    • Homo rudolfensis (Rudolf Man)
    • Homo ergaster (Working Man). Alternatively, may be Homo erectus ergaster. 1.8/1.24 MYA.
    • Homo erectus (Upright Man). An ancestor of modern man. Includes famous finds such as Java Man, Peking Man, and Turkana Boy. Brain cavity: 950-1100 cm3. 1.25/0.07 MYA.
    • Homo heidelbergensis (Heidelberg Man). An ancestor of modern man. Brain cavity: 1100-1400 cm3. 800/300 KYA.
    • Homo antecessor (Explorer Man). Brain cavity: 1000-1150 cm3. 600-250 KYA.
    • Homo rhodesiensis (Rhodesia Man)
    • Homo cepranensis (Ceprano Man)
    • Homo georgicus (Georgia Man)
    • Homo neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man). Alternatively, may be Homo sapiens neanderthalensis. Tool user that coexisted in time with Homo sapiens for quite a while. 230/30 KYA.
    • Homo floresiensis (Flores Man, discovered 2003). Halfling size. The last of the other species of the genus Homo. 18/15 KYA.
    • Homo sapiens (Wise Man, modern humans). 200/ KYA.
  • Species Sapiens. Includes the following subspecies, all of which are extinct except for Homo sapiens sapiens.
    • Homo sapiens neanderthalensis (Neanderthal Man). Alternatively, may be of the species Homo neanderthalensis. Tool user that coexisted in time with Homo sapiens for quite a while. 230/30 KYA.
    • Homo sapiens sapiens (Wise wise Man, modern humans). 195/ KYA.
    • Homo sapiens idaltu (Elderly Wise Man, discovered 1997). 160/150 KYA.
  • Subspecies Sapiens. Brain cavity: 1400 cm3 average.

Here 8 major transitions in biological organization according to biologists John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary:

  1. One replicating molecule → Interacting populations of replicating molecules
  2. Replicating molecules → Replicating molecules strung int chromosone
  3. Chromosone of RNA enzymes → DNA proteins
  4. Cell without nucleus → Cell with nucleus
  5. Asexual reproduction (cloning) → Sexual recombination
  6. Solitary individual → Colonies and superorganisms
  7. Primate societies → Language-based societies

Here are 6 major transition in the technium according to technologist Kevin Kelly:

  1. Primate communication → Language
  2. Oral lore → Writing/mathematical notation
  3. Scripts → Printing
  4. Book knowledge → Scientific method
  5. Artisan production → Mass production
  6. Industrial culture → Ubiquitous global communication

Anthropologic Scale

The anthropologic scale overlaps with the geological/paleontological scale and is based more upon evidence regarding behavior and will vary by area.

Historic Scale

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