Plant Skeletons Decompose

Some fungi deve­lop the ability to break down lignin. Volca­nic erup­ti­ons, exten­sive coal fires and decom­po­si­tion of lignin reduce the oxygen and incre­ase the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere.

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Dinosaurs

Some of the amphi­bi­ans are deve­lo­ping into repti­les better adap­ted to life on the land. These include early dinosaurs.

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Origin of Mammals

Some early reptile species evolve into mammals. The first mammals are the cloa­cal animals, which have survi­ved to this day (platy­pus).

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Flowering Plants

The deve­lo­p­ment of flowe­ring plants probably began about 200 million years ago, with some plants crea­ting multi­ple copies of their entire gene­tic mate­rial in an indi­vi­dual (polyplo­idy).

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Age of the Mammals

At the end of the Cret­ace­ous period a cosmic cata­stro­phe occur­red. A meteo­rite smas­hed into Central America and, probably due to conti­nen­tal drift, enor­mous volca­nic erup­ti­ons occur in India (Deccan-Trapp). The versa­tile mammals conquer the entire planet.

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Great Apes (Hominids)

A group of mammals in Africa is deve­lo­ping into diur­nal, human-like monkeys. They are the ances­tors of all gibbons and great apes living today and thus the ances­tors of all humans.

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Early Humans (Homininæ)

The ances­tors of today’s humans and all their extinct rela­ti­ves, who were also human, are sepa­ra­ting in Africa from the line of the human-like. A common family tree of all humans can be traced back to this point.

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Modern humans (Homo sapiens)

One of the prede­ces­sor species of man (Homo erec­tus) emigra­tes to Europe 200 000 years ago, where it deve­lops into a Nean­der­thal. In Africa, it gives rise to modern man (Homo sapi­ens), who comes to Europe 40 000 years ago.

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