Geologic Timeline

Timeline of Geologic History

("mya" is Million Years Ago; "bya" is Billion Years Ago)

Eon Era Period Epoch Events
Phanerozoic Eon

(Visible Life)
540 mya - now
Cenozoic Era
(Recent Life)
65 - now mya
Age of Mammals
Quaternary Period
1.8 mya - now
Age of Man
Holocene Epoch
11,000 years ago to today
Human Activity
Pleistocene Epoch
1.8 mya to 11,000 years ago
The last Ice Age
Tertiary Period
65 to 1.8 mya - 1.8 mya
24-1.8 mya
Pliocene Epoch
5-1.8 mya
Miocene Epoch
24-5 mya
Horses, dogs, modern birds
65 - 24 mya
Oligocene Epoch
38-24 mya
Pigs, deer, cats
Eocene Epoch
55-38 mya
More mammals, the first rodents appear
Paleocene Epoch
65-53 mya
Big mammals appear
Mesozoic Era

(Middle Life)
248-65 mya
Age of Reptiles
Cretaceous Period
146-65 mya
98-65 mya
Primitive marsupials appear, ends with huge K-T extinction of dinosaurs
146-98 mya
Snakes, ants, bees, dinosaurs ruling earth
Jurassic Period
208-146 mya
Giant plant eating Sauropods, flowering plants bloom
Triassic Period
248-208 mya
The rise of the dinosaurs, first mammals, many reptiles like turtles. Ends with extinctions of 35% of all animals families including most marine reptiles.
Paleozoic Era

(Ancient Life)
540-248 mya
Permian Period
280-248 mya
Age of Amphibians
One supercontinent is formed named Pangaea. Phytoplankton and plants pollute the air with oxygen. Ends with mass extinction - 50% of animal families, 95% of marine species.
Carboniferous Period
360-280 mya
coal swamps, corals, Amphibians more numerous
Pennsylvanian Period
325-280 mya
First reptiles and cockroaches appear.
Mississippian Period
360-325 mya
First winged insects.
Devonian Period
408-360 mya
Age of Fishes
First amphibians, sharks, bony fish. New insects appear. Mass extinction in 345 mya kills 30% of animal families
Silurian Period
438-408 mya
First jawed fish. First vascular plants.
Ordovician Period
505-439 mya
First primitive land plants, corals, primitive fish, fungi.
Cambrian Period
540-500 mya
Age of Trilobites
Cambrian explosion of life. First vertebrates, first fish. Supercontinent of Rodinia starts to break apart. Mass extinction of 50% of animal families.
Proterozoic Eon

(Earlier Life)
2.5 bya - 540 mya
Vendian/Ediacaran Period
600-640 mya
First multi-celled animals. Continents merge into first supercontinent, Rodinia. Mass extinction.
Archeozoic Eon

(Beginning Life)
3.9-2.5 bya
First single celled life forms appear, blue-green algae and bacteria live in the sea.
Hadean Eon

4.6 - 3.9 bya
Earth is forming.

Extinctions Intensities. Notice time periods often start after massive extinctions.

Extinction Intensities

For more detail see