Science and life on earth

The evolution of the history of animals to humans

By Richard Flament – Keep in mind that the formation of the Earth begins on January 1st and its history spans one year. In the previous article, it was about the origin of life that would have appeared 3.8 billion years ago, that is, the first of March. It would have been an exaggeration to say that evolution was slow in its early days, as the first animals appeared in the oceans eight months later, on November 13.

Our first animals appear in the fall in the form of jellyfish, seashells, and primitive fish. Animal life, which is restricted exclusively to the marine environment, displays a great diversity of forms and ways of life. At the end of November, we can witness bony armored fish over 9 meters long along with killer sea scorpions of 1 meter in length.

But on the evening of November 30, a major evolutionary event will occur. In fact, a fish with primitive legs will emerge from the water and colonize the terrestrial environment. In early December, this fish will develop into tetrapods, which are four-legged animals. They would live alongside the giant insects that colonized the terrestrial environment the day before… No luck, they weren’t the first.

These tetrapods will essentially evolve into two large groups of different animals around December 11th. One part will give mammals and the other will give reptiles and dinosaurs. Over the next few days, we have a colonization of the air environment by tiny flying reptiles that for some are nothing but a ridiculous 14-meter wingspan. The other animals, a little tired of terrestrial life and its attraction, decided to return to the water. It will give rise to giant marine reptiles such as Mosasaurs.

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On Christmas Eve, a huge explosion sounded and most of the dinosaurs disappeared. However, this explosion has taken advantage of our mammals that remain in the shadows to diversify them even more. Some had the same idea as the Mosasaurs and getting back into the water on Boxing Day. Today they form cetaceans.

Mammal landlines would become so diverse that they now represent the bulk of terrestrial vertebrates. Before the end of the year, another big event happens… around 11:45 pm on December 31, a primate mammal becomes Homo sapiens.

Richard Flament
PhD student in evolutionary biology at Qatar University

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