Appendix D to Chapter 9
I find the anthropological timeline very interesting. This is my own summary, I am no expert but in essence it is correct. Please contact me if you know additional important details, events and dates.
13,700,000,000 years ago : BANG
..4,500,000,000 Earth formed
..3,700,000,000 amoebas formed
.....520,000,000 enough oxygen in atmosphere to support Cambrian Revolution (a sudden increase in oxygen breathing animals).
.....180,000,000 first mammals appeared
.......65,000,000 the last dinosaur died
.........4,000,000 homo like species started
............400,000 - 150,000 fire controlled (human life started being fun)
..............50,000 neanderthal died out (very last fossil 35,000)
12,000 years ago civilisation started. Humans started farming, based on the possibility of storing large grain grasses (wheat and barley) in a common central storage place over a period of years and so avoid famine, (also linseed for lamp oil and clothes). The population began to increase exponentially.
10,000 melting and use of copper. Later: copper + tin = bronze.
5,000 pyramids and stonehenge (S. American, Maya and Inca ca. 4,000yrs. later) - the increased population was set to work for the gods, and what better way to occupy the restless minions, than moving great big stones.
4,000 first books (vedas, old testament, i ching) and a general increase (among the rich, in successful cultures), of abstract thinking.
4,000 the spoked wheel (robust and lightweight) started being developed. It took another thousand years till the hub mechanism was developed enough for general practical use.
3,500 Steel (origionally made from mixing cow dung (Carbon) with Iron), provided cheap, workable material for lightweight weapons, armour, wheel rims and hubs.
3,000 years ago, the beginning of military warfare.
2,500 Buddha and Nirvana
2,000 Jesus and One God for everyone.
In AD 325 the Christian Eastern and Catholic churches suddenly became the official religions of the Roman Empire. They became the main authority and unifying force when the Empire collapsed. They introduced a new understanding of God as a Holy Trinity. In AD 610 Mohammed reintroduced the simple One God.
In modern Europe from 1450 onwards Gutenberg's printing press revolutionised the spread of information based on the written word. Then horny Henry VIII manipulated Martin Luther's genius (1521), and in England opened up the possibility of freedom of belief for an entire population, without the wars it had caused in Europe.
The written word led to unprecedented mind boggling developments and revolutions over the next few hundred years. Until around 1920 where in Western Europe everyone received some sort of schooling, the opportunity to develop freedom of thought, and the right to vote. (The ideal of freedom of thought had already existed in ancient Greece, ancient China etc. but only the rich and priviledged were allowed to learn to read and think freely.)
Throughout civilisation there had been an exponential population increase. More people lived in the 20th century than in all the time before added together. The ancient spoked wheel unchanged for almost 4,000 years, suddenly evolved into trains and then in the 1900s cars. So the increased population became mobile.
The cutural meltdown we experience now, will only happen once in the history of our planet. The present exchange of ideas, beliefs and values is the most important crossing point humans will ever make, (until we meet aliens ...? ...) …