Armageddon, Antichrist, nuclear holocaust, polar shifts. Be it a new millennium, planetary alignment or a comet, doomsday prophets have a field day with their end of the world predictions. But is there really any rational basis for such an apocalyptic outlook?
According to the evolution
timeline below, taken from Roger Lewin's Thread of Life: The Smithsonian Looks at Evolution, humanity has barely been born on this planet and has millions of years more to live.
|LIFE FORMS||MILLIONS OF YEARS AGO||
|Dinosaurs flourish ||100|| Cretaceous|
|Reptiles, pre-bird||150-175|| Jurassic|
|Land plant life||200|| Triassic|
|Dinosaurs arrive||250|| Paleozoic|
|First reptiles||300|| Carboniferous|
|Sea plants on land||350|| Devonian|
|Sea invertebrates||450-500|| Ordovician|
|Trilobites, snails||500-575|| Cambrian|
|Multicellular|| 600-650|| Precambrian|