The beauty of science is that we have people whose job it is to make discoveries that change and challenge our knowledge of antiquity. In October, when I was marking off the halfway point, a 520 million year old arthropod
fossil was discovered.
The earliest bird (availability of prehistoric worms
notwithstanding) was believed for some while to be Archeopteryx
but this claim has been brought into dispute by the existence of Xiaotingia zhengi not because of a greater claim but because they are both more properly dinosaurs called Deinonychosaurs, rather than birds.
The Hylonomus Iyelli
puts our reptile mind at 312 million years old. It's considered to be the first lizard-like creature to come out of the sea and live on land.
The core date for Chordates
is 525 million years. Vertebrates
come in at the late Silurian, 425 million years ago
were around in the first time period of the Palaeozoic Era, the Cambrian)
Who knew our predecessor would bear such an unLatin appelation as the skinny 'shrew'
? 125 million years is a long time to have us mammals around
mammals have now been on this planet for that long. And, not be repetitive, the oldest eutherian
The first primates
did not appear until 50-55 million years ago. Anthropoids
35 million years ago. Hominids
date to 4.4 million years and that's only recently revised. Confusingly the next level up, a hominoid
fossil. But younger, a mere 1.97 to 1.96 million years ago, the earliest Homo Australopithecus sediba
Skipping past the other humanoid species we've been uncovering in recent years, the earliest appearance of Homo sapiens
is 195,000 years ago. This means we had 189,000 years to evolve to a point we could document our beginning. And, may it be said, in the most egocentric fashion, placing ourselves so highly - deciding whether there would be good and evil in the world, naming the animals - when other members of our genus had got the drop on us ten times over.