25 Interesting Facts about Earth’s History



Approximately 300 million years ago, when trees died, they didn’t rot. It took 60 million years for bacteria to evolve to be able to decompose wood. Those piles of non-decomposed heavy wood would eventually compress those trees into peat and then, over time, into coal.

2. Mitochondria are believed to be evolved from specialized bacteria that merged with our cell’s cytoplasm 1.5 billion years ago. This explains why it contains its own DNA.

3. All humanity has a common (8000x) grandmother. An African woman who lived 200,000 years ago is the common maternal ancestor of all humans alive today.

4. 358 million years ago Earth was in the Carboniferous period. During that age oxygen levels were 15% higher than today thanks to the abundance of plant life, which meant scorpions were the size of dogs, a caterpillar was the size of an anaconda and dragonflies were the size of eagles.

5. There were four mass extinction events before the one that killed the dinosaurs. The most severe killed a staggering 97% of all species. All life on Earth today is descended from the 3% that survived.

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The Earth has another continent called Zealandia. The entire continent sank after breaking away from Australia around 65-80 million years ago.

7. A Neanderthal who is now named “Shanidar 1” was buried approximately 45,000 to 35,000 years ago. Despite several injuries and disabilities from early in his life that would have made it impossible to survive on his own, he lived to relatively old age (40 to 50) with the help of others.

8. 400 million years ago, before trees took over, Earth was covered in 24-foot mushrooms called prototaxites.

9. Our genes show that we all share a male ancestor who is called Y-Chromosomal Adam. He lived approximately 208,300 years ago.

10. More than 4 billion years ago, Earth was hit by several objects larger than 600 miles that could vaporize the oceans and sterilize the surface yet bacterial life survived deep underground and each time recolonized the planet.