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
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A Short Biography of Life
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
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’s fit (by computer)
Bullard E, Everett JE, Smith AG. 1965. The fit of the continents around the Atlantic. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. London 258A: 41-51.
Alfred Lothar Wegener (1880-1930)
Die Entstehung der Kontinente und Ozeane[The origin of continents and oceans], 1915.
plants don’t swim!
94 million years ago to present
Present to 250 million years into the future
Do not buy waterfront real estate in Texas!
Magnetic north pole
Estimated Numbers of Described Extant Species (Lecointre and Guyader 2001)*
TaxonCommon NameNumber of described speciesPercentage of total (%)
Magnoliophyta flowering plants23388513.4
Actinopterygiiray-finned bony fishes237121.4
Squamatalizards and snakes68500.4
*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.
Total number of described species:
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
~30% of all animals are beetles
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.
Allocation of money and scientific effort in the study of eukaryotes
Do mass extinctions exhibit a periodicity of 25-32 million years?
GPC-3 = name of a sample sediment core
Is the cause of mass extinctions always extraterrestrial?
Acceleration of extinction rates?
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.