Deep Time : A History of the Earth - Interactive Infographic
Life on the planet started astonishingly early. The first living organisms, in the current model of evolution, are thought to be Prokaryotes1. The oldest known fossilised prokaryotes have been dated to approximately 3.5 billion years ago, only 1 billion years after the formation of the Earth's crust. Eukaryotes2 are more advanced organisms with complex cell structures, each of which contains a nucleus. Around 1.1 billion years ago multicellular3 organisms are thought to have started to develop, most likely similar in form to plants such as green algae. 200 million years later true multicellularity had also evolved in animals similar in nature to today's sponges, which are organisms which can reassemble themselves. Animals4, in the most basic sense of the word, are considered to have evolved from Eukaryotes. The dominance of the Dinosaurs6 lasted for over 160 million years, from around 230 Ma, to their ultimate demise at the end of the Cretaceous 65 million years ago.