Earth - Geological Time Scale

Homo erectus learns how to use fire
Homo Erectus learns how to use fire                                                         

Mammoth drawed on the Cave wall
Mammoth drawed on the Cave wall

Willendorf Venus
Willendorf Venus
This geological time scale outlines the development of the earth and of life on the earth. The earth's earliest history appears at the bottom of the chart, and its most recent history is at the top.

Period or epoch and its length

(years ago)

Development of life on the earth
Holocene Epoch
10 thousand years
10 thousand Human beings hunted and tamed animal; developed agriculture; learned to use metals, coal, oil, gas and other resources, and put the power of wind and rivers to work. Cultivated plants
Pleistocene Epoch
2 million years
2 million Modern human beings developed. Mammoths, woolly rhinos and other animals flourished but died out near the end of the epoch. Human beings
Pliocene Epoch
3 million years
5 million Sea life became much like today's. Birds and many mammals became like modern kinds and spread around the world. Humanlike creatures appeared. Horses
Miocene Epoch
19 million years
24 million Apes appeared in Asia and Africa. Other animals included bats, monkeys, whales, primitive bears and racoons. Flowering plants and trees resembled modern kinds. Apes
Oligocene Epoch
14 million years
38 million Primitive apes appeared. Camels, cats, dogs, elephants, horses, rhinos and rodents developed. Huge rhinoceroslike animals disappeared near the end of the epoch. Early horses
Eocene Epoch
17 million years
55 million Birds, amphibians, small reptiles and fish were plentiful. Primitive bats, camels, cats, horses, monkeys, rhinoceroses and whales appeared. Grasses
Paleocene Epoch
8 million years
63 million Flowering plants appeared. Invertebrates, fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals were common. Small mammals
  Cretaceous Period
75 million years
138 million Flowering plants appeared. Invertebrates, fish and amphibians were plentiful. Dinosaurs with horns and armor became common. Dinosaurs died out at the end of the period. Flowering plants
  Jurassic Period
67 million years
205 million Cone-bearing trees were plentiful. Sea life included shelled squid. Dinosaurs reached their largest size. The first birds appeared. Mammals were small and primitive. Birds
  Triassic Period
35 million years
240 million Cone-bearing trees were plentiful. Many fish resembled modern kinds. Insects were plentiful. The first turtles, crocodiles and dinosaurs appeared, as did the first mammals. Dinosaurs
  Permian Period
50 million years
290 million The first seed plants - cone-bearing trees - appeared. Fish, amphibians and reptiles were plentiful. Seed plants
Pennsylvanian Period
40 million years
330 million Scale trees, ferns and giant scouring rushes were abundant. Fish and amphibians were plentiful. The first reptiles appeared. Giant insects lived in forests where coal later formed. Reptiles
Mississippian Period
30 million years
360 million Trilobites had nearly died out. Crustaceans, fish and amphibians were plentiful. Many coral reefs were formed. Amphibians
  Devonian Period
50 million years
410 million The first forests grew in swamps. Many kinds of fish, including sharks, armored fish and lungfish, swam in the sea and in fresh waters. The first amphibians and insects appeared. Fish
  Silurian Period
25 million years
435 million Spore-bearing land plants appeared. Trilobites and mollusks were common. Coral reefs formed. Corals
  Ordovician Period
65 million years
500 million Trilobites, corals and mollusks were common. Tiny animals called graptolites lived in branching colonies (groups). Graptolites
  Cambrian Period
70 million years
570 million (?) Fossils were plentiful for the first time. Shelled animals called trilobites and some mollusks were common in the sea. Jawless fish appeared. Trilobites
Precambrian Time
Almost 4 billion years (?)
4.5 billion (?) Coral, jellyfish and worms lived in the sea about 1,100 million years ago. Bacteria lived as long as 3.5 billion years. Before that, no living things are known Bacteria