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Earth: Evolution of a Habitable Planet (Animated Poster)

This animated poster summarizes the evolution of the atmosphere, geology, and biology of Earth in the last 750 million years during its most habitable periods. The poster was constructed from data and images from the Visible Paleo-Earth project and other sources referenced at the end of this page. A video summary of the events of major extinctions is also included below.


Present
000 Ma
15°C 21% O0.04% CO2
29% Land 71% Ocean
68% Vegetation
11% Ice 21% Desert
Humans•Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life


Early Neogene
020 Ma
15°C 23% O0.03% CO2
30% Land 70% Ocean
81% Vegetation
2% Ice 17% Desert
Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life

Middle Paleogene
035 Ma
16°C 22% O0.05% CO2
29% Land 71% Ocean
85% Vegetation
1% Ice 14% Desert
Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life

Early Paleogene
050 Ma
17°C 22% O0.09% CO2
28% Land 72% Ocean
88% Vegetation
1% Ice 11% Desert
Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life

Cretaceous-Paleogene
065 Ma
18°C 22% O0.08% CO2
26% Land 74% Ocean
89% Vegetation
0% Ice 11% Desert
Dinosaurs•Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Late Cretaceous
090 Ma
19°C 22% O0.12% CO2
23% Land 77% Ocean
95% Vegetation
0% Ice 5% Desert
Dinosaurs•Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life

 Early Cretaceous
105 Ma
19°C 22% O0.15% CO2
24% Land 76% Ocean
97% Vegetation
0% Ice 3% Desert
Dinosaurs•Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
 Early Cretaceous
120 Ma
18°C 19% O0.17% CO2
26% Land 74% Ocean
95% Vegetation
0% Ice 5% Desert
Dinosaurs•Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Late Jurassic
150 Ma
18°C 16% O0.21% CO2
25% Land 75% Ocean
96% Vegetation
0% Ice 4% Desert
Dinosaurs•Birds•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Middle Jurassic
170 Ma
18°C 15% O0.24% CO2
26% Land 74% Ocean
89% Vegetation
0% Ice 11% Desert
Dinosaurs•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Late Triassic
200 Ma
17°C 19% O0.15% CO2
27% Land 73% Ocean
82% Vegetation
0% Ice 17% Desert
Dinosaurs•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life

Late Triassic
220 Ma
18°C 23% O0.16% CO2
28% Land 72% Ocean
84% Vegetation
0% Ice 16% Desert
Dinosaurs•Mammals
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Middle Triassic
240 Ma
21°C 19% O0.19% CO2
27% Land 73% Ocean
83% Vegetation
0% Ice 17% Desert
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Late Permian
260 Ma
19°C 31% O0.05% CO2
26% Land 74% Ocean
79% Vegetation
13% Ice 8% Desert
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Early Permian
280 Ma
15°C 32% O0.04% CO2
25% Land 75% Ocean
81% Vegetation
10% Ice 9% Desert
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Late Carboniferous
300 Ma
14°C 30% O0.04% CO2
21% Land 79% Ocean
78% Vegetation
20% Ice 2% Desert
Reptiles•Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life

Middle Carboniferous
340 Ma
16°C 23% O0.08% CO2
20% Land 80% Ocean
90% Vegetation
8% Ice 2% Desert
Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Late Devonian
370 Ma
20°C 18% O0.23% CO2
19% Land 81% Ocean
96% Vegetation
0% Ice 4% Desert
Insects•Plants
Amphibians•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Early Devonian
400 Ma
19°C 22% O0.32% CO2
21% Land 79% Ocean
97% Vegetation
0% Ice 3% Desert
Plants•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Middle Silurian
430 Ma
18°C 21% O0.48% CO2
19% Land 81% Ocean
95% Vegetation
0% Ice 5% Desert
Plants•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Early Silurian
440 Ma
18°C 20% O0.47% CO2
19% Land 81% Ocean
79% Vegetation
0% Ice 21% Desert
Plants•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life


Late Ordovician
450 Ma
17°C 18% O0.44% CO2
19% Land 81% Ocean
79% Vegetation
0% Ice 21% Desert
Plants•Fishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Middle Ordovician
470 Ma
20°C 16% O0.50% CO2
19% Land 81% Ocean
58% Vegetation
12% Ice 30% Desert
PlantsFishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Late Cambrian
500 Ma
22°C 18% O0.53% CO2
23% Land 77% Ocean
47% Vegetation
0% Ice 53% Desert
PlantsFishes
Arthropods•Molluscs
Microbial Life
Early Cambrian
540 Ma
—°C 19% O2 —CO2
27% Land 73% Ocean
0% Vegetation
0% Ice 100% Desert
Arthropods•Molluscs
Ediacaran
Microbial Life
Late Ediacaran
560 Ma
—°C — O— CO2
28% Land 72% Ocean
0% Vegetation
0% Ice 100% Desert
Ediacaran
Microbial Life



Early Ediacaran
600 Ma
—°C — O— CO2
30% Land 70% Ocean
0% Vegetation
16% Ice 84% Desert
Ediacaran
Microbial Life
Late Cryogenian
660 Ma
—°C — O— CO2
18% Land 82% Ocean
0% Vegetation
63% Ice 37% Desert
Microbial Life
Late Cryogenian
690 Ma
—°C — O— CO2
13% Land 87% Ocean
0% Vegetation
49% Ice 51% Desert
Microbial Life
Middle Cryogenian
750 Ma
—°C — O— CO2
18% Land 82% Ocean
0% Vegetation
37% Ice 63% Desert
Microbial Life


Note: All values shown in this poster are approximations and there is some disagreement between different scientific sources. Additional data was obtained from the following references:

  • Berner, R. A. and Kothavala, Z. (2001). GEOCARB III: A revised model of atmospheric CO2 over Phanerozoic time. Am. J. of Science301, 2, 182.
  • Berner, R. A. (2006). Geological nitrogen cycle and atmospheric N2 over Phanerozoic time. Geology34, 5, 413.
  • Berner, R. A. (2009). Phanerozoic atmospheric oxygen: New results using the GEOCARBSULF model. American Journal of Science309, 7, 603.
  • Caldeira K, Kasting JF (1992) The life-span of the biosphere revisited. Nature360, 6406, 721–723.
  • Royer, D. L., Berner, R. A., Montañez, I. P., Tabor, N. J., and Beerling, D. J. (2004). CO2 as a primary driver of Phanerozoic climate. GSA Today14, 3, 4-10.
  • Williams, G. E. (1993). History of the Earth's obliquity. Earth-Science Reviews34, 1, 1-45.