Evolution A Short Biography of Life a play. Time. Age of the universe: 13.72 ± 0.12 billion years Age of solar system: 4.54 ± 0.45 billion years Age of earth: ~4 billion years Age of life: ~3.5 billion years Age of eukaryotes: ~1.8 billion years Age of multicellulars: ~1.2 billion years
A Short Biography of Life
Age of solar system: 4.54 ± 0.45 billion years
Age of earth: ~4 billion years
Age of life: ~3.5 billion years
Age of eukaryotes: ~1.8 billion years
Age of multicellulars: ~1.2 billion years
Age of chordates: 500-550 million years
Age of mammals: ~240 million years
Age of placentals: ~130 million years
Age of primates: ~60 million years
Age of apes: ~30 million years
Age of genus Homo: ~2.5 million years
Age of Homo sapiens: ~150,000 years
Written history: ~5,000 years
Antonio Snider-Pellegrini. 1858. La Création et ses mystères dévoilés ("Creation and its Mysteries Unveiled")
Bullard E, Everett JE, Smith AG. 1965. The fit of the continents around the Atlantic. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London 258A: 41-51.
Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane[The origin of continents and oceans], 1915.
Estimated Numbers of Described Extant Species (Lecointre and Guyader 2001)*
Taxon Common Name Number of described species Percentage of total (%)
Bacteria true bacteria 9021 0.5
Archaea archaebacteria 259 0.01
Bryophyta mosses 15000 0.9
Lycopodiophyta clubmosses 1275 0.07
Filicophyta ferns 9500 0.5
Coniferophyta conifers 601 0.03
Magnoliophyta flowering plants 233885 13.4
Fungi fungi 100800 5.8
"Porifera" sponges 10000 0.6
Cnidaria cnidarians 9000 0.5
Rotifera rotifers 1800 0.1
Platyhelminthes flatworms 13780 0.8
Mollusca mollusks 117495 6.7
Annelida annelid worms 14360 0.8
Nematoda nematodes 20000 1.1
Arachnida arachnids 74445 4.3
Crustacea crustaceans 38839 2.2
Insecta insects 827875 47.4
Echinodermata echinoderms 6000 0.3
Chondrichthyes cartilaginous fishes 846 0.05
Actinopterygii ray-finned bony fishes 23712 1.4
Lissamphibia amphibians 4975 0.3
Mammalia mammals 4496 0.3
Chelonia turtles 290 0.02
Squamata lizards and snakes 6850 0.4
Aves birds 9672 0.6
Other 193075 11.0
*The total number of described species is assumed to be 1,747,851. This figure, and the numbers of species for taxa are taken from LeCointre and Guyader (2001) and Cracraft (2002).
Lecointre, G. and H. Le Guyader. (2001). Classification phylogenetique du vivant. Paris, France: Belin.
Cracraft, C. (2002). The seven great questions of systematic biology: an essential foundation for conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 89, 127-144.
Flowering Plants 233,885
Estimated range of total number of species in the world:
3,600,000 to 117,700,000
Erwin TL. 1982. Tropical forests: Their richness in Coleoptera and other arthropod species. The Coleopterist Bulletin 36(1): 74-75.
Lecointre G & Le Guyader H. 2001. Classification phylogenetique du vivant. Belin: Paris.
Cracraft C. 2002. The seven great questions of systematic biology: an essential foundation for conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 89:127-144.
“There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don\'t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don\'t know we don\'t know.” Donald Rumsfeld
There is a story, possibly apocryphal, of the distinguished British biologist, J. B. S. Haldane, who found himself in the company of a group of theologians. On being asked what one could conclude as to the nature of the Creator from a study of his creation, Haldane is said to have answered, “An inordinate fondness for beetles.”
Hutchinson,G. E. 1959. Homage to Santa Rosalia or
Why are there so many kinds of animals? Am. Nat.
Do mass extinctions exhibit a periodicity of 25-32 million years?
Is the cause of mass extinctions always extraterrestrial?
Unit = extinctions per million species per year (E/MSY)
1500-1900 25 E/MSY
1900-2000 50-150 E/MSY
Pimm S, Raven P, Peterson A, Sekercioglu ÇH & Ehrlich PR. 2006. Human impacts on the rates of recent, present, and future bird extinctions. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 10941-10946.