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
.........4,000,000 homo like species appeared
.........1,800,000 Homo Erectus climbed down from the trees.
.........................Humans start making rough hand axes and cleavers.
............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, barley and rice) in a common central storage place over a period of years and so avoid famine, (also linseed for lamp oil and clothes). Population increase was always gradual, with civilisation it became exponential.
10,000 years ago (8,000 B.C.) melting and use of copper. Later: copper + tin = bronze.
5,000 : pyramids in Egypt and Peru and stone-circles in Europe. The increased population was set to work - and what better way for wise rulers to occupy the restless minions with too much free time on their hands - than moving great big stones for the Gods.
4,000 : first books (Indian Vedas, Jewish Old Testament, Chinese I Ging) and a general increase (among the rich in prosperous 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 all sorts of utensils, holders and tools, lightweight weapons and armour, also slowly wheel-rims and wheel-hubs, and then with the transport of goods ...
3,000 : years ago, the beginning of military warfare. The inceasing population wanted territory.
2,500 : Buddha inspried by the wheel, wanted Nirvana
2,000 : Jesus wanted One God for everyone.
In AD 325, as the Roman Empire collapsed, the Christian Eastern and Catholic churches suddenly became the official religions. They became the main authority and unifying force in the western world. 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 in 1517 came Martin Luther's reformation - which horny Henry VIII embraced in 1533, and in England opened up the possibility of freedom of thought and belief for an entire population, without the wars it had caused in Europe.
These two, the printed word and freedom of belief, led to unprecedented mind boggling developments and cultural and political revolutions over the next few hundred years. Until around 1920 where in the 'Western World', the value of each individual was established, everyone received the opportunity of schooling, and the right to vote.
Throughout civilisation there has 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 human cultures will ever make …
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