Cool facts for Ark Encounter visitors: How old things actually are

Noah's Ark
Noah’s Ark Cartoon

In the spirit of Ken Ham’s Ark Encounter, the white elephant project celebrating scientific illiteracy that opened in Kentucky, it might be useful to have at the ready some fact-based talking points should you find yourself in a conversation with a Young Earth Creationist.

Here are the various ages of 38 things that I think are pretty darn awesome. Estimates here are of course based on the latest science, so being based on good science they are subject to adjustment with better evidence. Of course the astute reader will notice that 36 of these are actually older than 6000 years, but last two are so cool I included them in the count. Enjoy!

  1. Age of the Universe: 13.77 Billion Years
  2. Age of the Milky Way: 13.6 Billion Years
  3. Age of the Sun: 4.57 Billion Years
  4. Age of Earth: 4.54 Billion Years
  5. RNA on Earth: 4 Billion Years
  6. Prokaryotes on Earth: 3.8 Billion Years
  7. Photosynthesis on Earth: 2.8 Billion Years
  8. Eukaryotes on Earth: 2.1 Billion Years
  9. Sexual Reproduction on Earth: 1.2 Billion Years
  10. Multicellular life on Earth: 1.5 Billion Years
  11. Cambrian explosion on Earth: 570-530 Million Years
  12. Arthropods on Earth: 570 Million Years
  13. First animal footprints on land: 530 Million Years
  14. Plants move on to land: 434 Million Years
  15. Meet Tiktaalik roseae, the transitional fossil fish with a neck: 375 Million Years
  16. Dinosaurs and mammals on the scene: 225 Million Years
  17. Tyrannosaurus Rex roars: 68 Million Years
  18. Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event (bye bye Dinosaurs, make room for more mammals): 65.5 Million Years
  19. Earliest primate ancestor: 55 Million Years
  20. New World monkeys (long tails) and Catarrhini: 30 Million Years
  21. Catarrhini splits in to Old World monkeys and apes (Hominoidae): 25 Million Years
  22. Proconsul, one of the earliest monkey to ape transitional fossils: 21 Million Years
  23. Hominoidae splits in to Great Apes and Lesser Apes: 15 Million Years
  24. Speciation within Great Apes launches lines toward gorillas (10 Million Years), and our common ancestor with chimpanzees (7 Million Years)
  25. Strong evidence for bipedalism in Australopithecus afarensis (3.7 Million Years)
  26. First stone tools (2.6 Million Years)
  27. Homo habilis, the earliest of our ancestors to show a significant increase in brain size and also the first to be found associated with stone tools
  28. Homo erectus (aka Homo ergaster) (1.8 Million Years)
  29. Homo ergaster controls fire (1.5 Million Years)
  30. Homo heidelbergensis leaves footprints in Italy  (385 Thousand Years)
  31. Homo sapiens (200 Thousand Years)
  32. Homo sapiens leave Africa (100 Thousand Years)
  33. Homo sapiens arrive in Australia (50 Thousand Years)
  34. Neanderthal extinct (40 Thousand Years)
  35. Homo sapiens become last man standing (12 Thousand Years)
  36. Agricultural society develops (10 Thousand Years)
  37. The Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest story ever written by humans, is jotted down in Mesopotamia (4,150 Years)
  38. The age of the universe is estimated by Homo sapiens using the WMAP satellite (6 Years)

Please leave a comment below or contact me via Twitter or Facebook if you see any mistakes or updates that need to be made. Also let me know if there are some really cool events that I may have missed that you think deserve to be on the timeline.

Featured image via AllPosters.com

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