Formation of the Earth

Accor­ding to ever­y­thing we know, 4.6 billion years ago, the glowing fire­ball that was to become the Earth, the Sun and other planets were all formed from a cloud of gas. The universe itself was alre­ady 9.2 billion years old.

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First Evidence of Life

Biolo­gi­cal evolu­tion replaces chemi­cal evolu­tion 500 million years after Earth is formed. This marks the begin­ning of the deve­lo­p­ment of life.

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First Cyanobacteria

Precur­sors of cyano­bac­te­ria (form­erly called blue-green algae) are the first cells whose traces can be detec­ted in old rocks. Thanks to their cell membrane they were able to regu­late the exch­ange of subs­tances and energy with their environment.

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Photosynthesis

Cells are deve­lo­ping the ability to produce energy from sunlight ever more effi­ci­ently. Over milli­ons of years, the oxygen produ­ced leads to the forma­tion of water inso­lu­ble metal salts in the oceans. This results in the signi­fi­cant banding layers which are being mined today.

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Cells With Nucleus (Eukaryotes)

Towards the end of this age, cells appear for the first time which, unlike bacte­ria, have a real cell nucleus in which their gene­tic mate­rial is stored in a more protec­ted way.

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Supporting and Protective Skeletons

The first fossils of clus­ters of inter­con­nec­ted cells date from this period. By connec­ting, they lay the foun­da­tion for the divi­sion of labour among cells and the deve­lo­p­ment of more complex living beings.

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Vertebrates

The oxygen content in the sea rises shar­ply, and within 5–10 million years most of the blue­prints for the crea­tures that still exist today are crea­ted. Fish are the first crea­tures with an inter­nal skele­ton and flexi­ble spine.

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Plants Come Ashore

The first plants and insects conquer the land and many new species emerge. A tropi­cal climate prevails, but the plants funda­men­tally change it: they bind carbon dioxide (a green­house gas) from the atmo­sphere, the tempe­ra­ture on earth drops. At the same time, the oxygen content of the atmo­sphere increases.

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Vertebrates Jaw Formation

At the begin­ning of the Silurian, verte­bra­tes deve­lop mova­ble jaws that allow them to grasp, hold and chop food. This opens up comple­tely new feeding possi­bi­li­ties for the jawed animals.

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The Vertebrates Come Ashore

Multi­ple rapid climate chan­ges and lower oxygen levels in the water lead to the third major extinc­tion. Amphi­bi­ans — verte­bra­tes that can brea­the air and live on land — have opened up the land as a new habitat.

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