4.6 billion years of Earth history in two minutes

Life appeared on Earth some 3 billion years ago (3,000,000,000). The first primitive unicellular organisms were the sole living organisms for about two thirds of this time, and it was not until about 600 million years ago that more complex organisms (metazoa) appeared. From then on life has evolved at a geologically very fast rate. The CHRONOS flash intro uses the Tower of Life images and a clock that compresses the 4.6 billion years of Earth history into 12 hours to convey the concept of 'deep time' and the (comparatively little) amount of time that macroscopic life has existed. Watch the artistic representations of past life flashing by as we go backwards in time. The last image is a reconstruction of the Earth's surface in the Precambrian (before 542 million years ago), a period of which a lot still needs to be discovered, when volcanoes were very active, the atmosphere very different from the one we know today, and large parts of the Earth were covered by warm seas teeming with unicellular life.