Plants form the stable substance lignin as a supporting framework and for protection. This mechanical pulp enables plants to grow tall.
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.
Some of the amphibians are developing into reptiles better adapted to life on the land. These include early dinosaurs.
Some early reptile species evolve into mammals. The first mammals are the cloacal animals, which have survived to this day (platypus).
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.