The Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago. It created all the energy that will ever exist. When we put gas in our trucks, we are tapping energy from the Big Bang. The universe used hydrogen to make everything. Everything is connected. Gravity is the sculptor. Stars are element factories. The lighter elements are fused inside stars: helium, carbon, oxygen & nitrogen. Elements too heavy to be created inside stars are made by supernovas: uranium, gold & copper. Elements are the seeds of life. We would not exist without supernovas. The sun (our star) was born 4.6 billion years ago. Earth and the other planets formed from stuff left over when the sun formed. The earth was molten lava and black volcanic rock. Earth's crust, core & magnetic field came into existence. A Mars-size object smashed into the earth to create the moon. The impact caused the 23 1/2 tilt of Earth's axis. The moon keeps Earth steady. Gravity slowed Earth's rotation. It rained for millions of years to create the oceans. DNA formed, and life on earth began. Microbes ruled for billions of years. Bacteria created oxygen. All life competes for energy from the Big Bang. Our energy comes to us almost totally from the sun. When oxygen escaped into the atmosphere, life became more complex. The sky turned blue as did the oceans that reflect it. Life went wild in the Cambrian explosion, biology's version of the Big Bang. Fish evolved a spine. They are our ancestors. Plants moved onto the land, then animals, amphibians first. Amphibians cut their ties to water by evolving eggs with shells to keep in moisture. Some became reptiles. Plants died and became underground coal. The Permian extinction is the greatest die-off in Earth's history. Extinctions are regular occurences. Dinosaurs lasted 160 million years before they were wiped out either by an asteroid or by an ice age. The Pangea landmass broke up into continents. The demise of the dinosaurs allowed the rise of mammals. Primates appeared with binocular vision and 5-digit hands. Egypt was below a sea. The pyramids are made of seashells. The Grand Canyon started to form 10 million years ago. Grasslands appeared around the world: the prairie, savanna & the steppes. Grasslands made our primate ancestors adapt. They left the trees to walk on 2 legs. They used rocks loaded with silicon as tools. This was the stone age. Fire was discovered. Earth is the only planet in the solar system where fire can exist. This is because of our vast amount of oxygen and fuel. Fire is used to cook and turn water into steam. When man learned to speak, he could share information. Humans became smarter than other species. They left Africa and went on to colonize the globe. The Ice Age came as glaciers moved down from the north. But man endured. He developed symbolic thought, an ability to see beyond the here and now. During the Ice Age, he crossed land bridges. He crossed the Bering Strait into North and South America. When Ice Age land bridges melted, humans were cut off from one another. The ice receded, and rivers flowed: Tigris and Euphrates, Nile, Ganges & Mississippi. River valleys allowed civilizations to flourish. Man began planting seeds. Grass again: wheat, barley & sugarcane. Man farmed, and it was the fertile crescent in the Middle East that had the best plants and animals. Domesticated horses were used in work and warfare. Cities appeared in Mesopotamia. The Sumerians invented the wheel. Writing developed with its need for governments. Humans clustered near rivers. Trade began. Caravan routes pointed to globalization. Monuments like the pyramids and Stonehenge were erected. The iron age came. Iron weapons made empires possible. Religions sprung up: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism & Hinduism. China joined the world when the Silk Road opened. Trade routes connected different parts of the world. The Roman Empire converted to Christianity. Arab traders used camels to bring food crops to the west. Arabs spread their counting system called Arabic numerals. Gunpowder originated in China and moved west into Europe. In 1492, Christopher Columbus got Spain to back his expeditions. He connected the 2 halves of the world. New hubs formed, and power shifted. The west took over! New foods moved around the globe. European conquerors killed American natives. Sugar plantations rose up. Slaves from Africa were brought to the Americas. Muscle power was replaced by coal, plants that died millions of years ago. The steam engine began the Industrial Revolution: trains and automobiles. Oil became the most important commodity on the planet. The telegraph, electricity & airplanes were invented. Europeans controlled 85% of the land on earth by 1900. Fossil fuels and the internal combustion engine amplified everything. War killed millions. The world's population reached more than 7 billion. Mankind harnessed incredible amounts of energy. His present is filled with creativity. This documentary was shown on the History Channel.
Jim Colyer summary