Thursday, February 19, 2009

4.6 Billion Years in 60 Seconds

As a way of providing perspective and to accommodate attention spans such as my own, the good people at Seed have made a video condensing the entire history of life on earth into one minute:

The Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds is an experiment in scale: By condensing 4.6 billion years of history into a minute, the video [embedding not allowed] is a self-contained timepiece. Like a specialized clock, it gives one a sense of perspective. Everything — from the formation of the Earth, to the Cambrian Explosion, to the evolution of mice and squirrels — is proportionate to everything else, displaying humankind as a blip, almost indiscernible in the layered course of history.
It's humbling and awe-inspiring, and calls to mind an even more stunning example of the genre, Carl Sagan's "cosmic calendar" from Cosmos, in which he compresses the entire history of the universe into a single calendar year:

The first creatures that are recognizably human appear around 10:30pm on December 31st of that cosmic year; and "everything in the history books" occurs in the last 10 seconds of that cosmic year.

(via the ever-informative Pharyngula)

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