Timeline of evolution

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This timeline of the evolution of life outlines the major events in the development of life on the planet Earth (See Organism). For a thorough explanatory context, see the history of Earth, and geologic time scale. The dates given in this article are estimates based on scientific evidence.

In biology, evolution is the process by which populations of organisms acquire and pass on novel traits from generation to generation. Its occurrence over large stretches of time explains the origin of new species and ultimately the vast diversity of the biological world. Contemporary species are related to each other through common descent, products of evolution and speciation over billions of years.

Contents

Basic timeline

The basic timeline is a 4.5 billion year old Earth, with (very approximate) dates:

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