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13,000,000
Something was cooking in Spain.  In 2004 we discovered the remains of human like creatures that are too far away from apes to have much to do with them, but still look a little different from us.  So what were these creatures if not our ancestors?  The split between the human branch and the branch of the great apes may have finally been found.  It is possible that our original ancestor was actually a species in making, and much less adapted to the life on earth than it's offspring, and could not survive.  How much earlier did this actually happen and where did it actually happen?  Finding something prehistoric somewhere does not prove that it originated from there even if the likelihood is higher for that.  We are waiting to hear some more...!
13,000,000 - 6,000,000The beginning of the human race, a genetic mutation happened in one of our ancient chimpanzee / human grand parents.  Was it a chimpanzee or something else has not been verified as of yet.  We know our DNA and that the DNA of a "Chimp" makes it to our very close living "relative".  

Gene mutations are common among all living organisms including especially all plants.  The mutation is often initiated by a high energy particle from space, local radioactive decay, or simply as a radiation pulse from our sun.  Some of these high energy particles can be stopped with protective materials, like lead or water, but some just zoom through all of them including the whole earth as if it all is just plain empty space.  When these particles hit a atom nucleus in a DNA molecule the result is a change in the DNA, a mutation. 

These  mutated genes can remain inside the plant or our bodies, they may be able to multiply or they might as well be eliminated as nonfunctional reject and removed from our bodies. This radiation based gene "tweaking" is likely one of the the main causes that initiate the development of new species.  Later on as the mutations continue at lower level, those properties that support survival are enforced while the others get destroyed.  We know more of mutations in plants than in animals.  With plants the mutations are frequent and a starting mutation often shows up first in the flower part as varying number in pedals.  If this mutant is able to cross pollinate with the original stable plant the actual development of the new species will proceed towards it's next step.  

Soon more and more mutants are standing around, and  this new "sub-species" will have it's real test of viability: can these mutants pollinate between themselves?  If this is possible a new subspecies for the original plant is born. 

This new  mutant can as well be unstable for a while with more mutations to follow in a relatively fast succession until this new species becomes stable.  Each step on the way will require the validity test, can this specific mutant pollinate?  The Nature uses this same process also in the animal kingdom but here the development steps will take a long time.  In our case it took altogether at least 4 million years, perhaps even 7 million years until our first subspecies become stable some 6,000,000 years ago.

6,000,000
The first more or less stable mutant - Homo Toumai - the old man of Chad of Africa was roaming on it's plains in sufficient force that the survival of the new species was secured.   The kingdom of large land animals had suddenly received an unthinkable - a ruler in making.  This new animal walked upright and started using more and more various tools to catch it's food.  It was also different as it started selecting more or less permanent breeding partners.  The skills of the male to catch live food started becoming increasingly important in addition to the plain raw physical power.  This accelerated the development of the species tremendously.
 
4,400,000

Ardipithecus hominids, or simply Ardi from Ethipia's Aramis in Agar Triangle was the learning the elementary tricks that millions of years later made his descendats the rulers of the planet Earth. It is likely that he had already mastered the use of fire - the overwhelming power that kept even the strongest carnivours at bay.

In addition of being a native Ethiopian he and his 34 other conpatriots are now spending time in the National Museum of Ethiopia.   The restored Ardi indicate that the separation of humans and Chimpansee's may have happened much earlier than is commonly speculated. We may need to re-think again the timing when the first humasn was born

3,200,000
Homo Habitus, the master of the fire, was the next stable mutant.  The Ethiopia's lady Lucy lived 3,2 million years ago and is a prime representative of her species.  She is hosted today by her native country Ethiopia but is planning a four year tour around the US starting in 2006.  When she arrived the cold evenings inside Homo Toumai's "rat holes" were faded away as from now on, no women with any brain at all, nor their daughters would seek the company of the Homo Toumai.  

Life with the new Homo Habitus was exciting, especially when the shadows of  the flickering night fire and glowing eyes and voices in the dark forced the Habitus to start asking more asd more questions.  Is there something else besides the ordinary night hunters and if there was, were they friends or foes! 

He was the undisputed master over the dark forces - as long as he just had more wood to burn!

3,030,000
A major eruption of Yellowstone super volcano.  Scientists have concluded that Yellowstone Park has been on a regular eruption cycle of  600,000 years.
3,000,000
AntarcticaForest
A major new finding from Antarctica .contradicts our theories based on 650,000 years of ice core samples from Antarctica leads to a conclusion of a relatively stabile climate belongs to a waste basket.  These theories fail to explain how we could ever have full blown forest on Antarctica.  We have started believing that the about 100,000 year major climate cycle is the most dominating one but these new findings tell a different story.  Perhaps our sun has more secrets than we have imagined.  It is well known that it has cycles too, like the 11 year sunspot cycle but perhaps it has much more cycles from which major ones are counted in millions of years and not in tens of thousands of years.  If that is the case we may be heading towards a surprise and not because of the greenhouse gases but because the inner workings of the sun itself

Antarctica, for the most part, is a lifeless continent of rock and ice. Over the last 15 years, scientists have come to believe that the stark and frigid landscape we see today has existed for a very long time; the climatic message embedded in sea sediments is that once an ice sheet enveloped East Antarctica 15 million years ago, it never let go.

Now, however, scientists working on the continent itself have uncovered the wooden remains of what they believe was an extensive forest that flourished only 400 miles from the South Pole about 3 million years ago.

The idea of a permanently ice-clad Antarctica first began to melt a few years ago when Webb, a paleontologist at Ohio State University in Columbus, and his co-workers discovered marine microfossils in the Transantarctic Mountains (SN: 7/2/83, p. 6). Webb concluded that 4 million years ago, as well as at earlier times, the ice sheet had retreated and seaways stretched across East Antarctica. Then, when the sheet advanced, it carried the fossils from the ocean basin to the mountains.

The new find of roots and stems of wooden plants and of pollen in an area stretching about 1,300 kilometers along the Transantarctic Mountains means not only that the ice retreated but also that the climate was warm enough to support a shrublike beach forest. "The presence of the wood means that there was deglaciation on a major scale, with conditions radically different than they are today," says David Elliot, chief scientist of the recent National Science Foundation polar expedition, of which Webb's group was part. "This is a very significant find." Webb thinks the forest region a few million years ago must have resembled the present-day fjords of Chile and Norway.

3,000,000
Levels of radioactive iron-60 inside the world's largest telescope (the deep ocean floor) suggest of a supernova exploding some 3,000,000 years ago.  It was between 60 and 300 light years away (Brian Fields, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). Radiation from the blast could have weakened Earth's atmosphere exposing organisms to the sun's ultraviolet radiation.
2,430,000
A major eruption of Yellowstone super volcano.  Scientists have concluded that Yellowstone Park has been on a more or less regular eruption cycle of  600,000 years
2,100,000
The biggest of the Yellowstone eruptions occurred 2.1 million years ago, depositing the Huckleberry Ridge ash bed. These eruptions left behind huge volcanic depressions called “calderas” and spread volcanic ash over large parts of North America (see map). If another large caldera-forming eruption were to occur at Yellowstone, its effects would be worldwide. Thick ash deposits would bury vast areas of the United States, and injection of huge volumes of volcanic gases into the atmosphere could drastically affect global climate.
2,000,000 - 100,000
teeth

The teeth of Paranthropus boisei (left), an early human relative that lived in East Africa. (AP Photo/Melissa Lutz Blouin, University of Arkansas)

The Stone Age or the first period of it called lower Paleolithic era ended 100,000 years ago.  The man had became an inventor and engineer.  He mastered soon an increasing array of different muscle power enhancing tools that made the life more comfortable, even luxurious compared to earlier times.  It has happened many times in the past that we get cocky and tend to forget that only the scientists, inventors and engineers can take us forward and improve our lives.  When a tool breaks, we are better of with someone who can make a new and better one, than with someone who can barely fix it.  Fixing buys time before the inevitable loss arrives and turns the clock back. It may even happen that nobody ever even realizes what was lost.

Fire gave the ability to extract large amounts of calories from meats cooked or fried on it. This changed the evolution - the vegetarian was suddenly free to eat almost anything that it could catch and no more so dependent of fruits, berries and roots. The days of continuous hunger and food gathering were gone and the human species had now free time to think.

1,830,000
A major eruption of Yellowstone super volcano.  Scientists have concluded that Yellowstone Park has been on a more or less regular eruption cycle of  600,000 years
1,250,000
Mars running water
(BBC) Mars appears to have had running water on its surface about one million years ago, according to new evidence.   Images from a Nasa spacecraft orbiting the Red Planet show fan-shaped gullies on the surface which seem to be about 1.25 million years old, the study says. They believe the channels were sculpted by surface water from melting ice.

 

1,230,000
A major eruption of Yellowstone super volcano.  Scientists have concluded that Yellowstone Park has been on a more or less regular eruption cycle of  600,000 years
1,065,000 1,020,000
A severe Ice Age ruled the world.  The average temperature sank deg. 5C below the average.  Oceans plummeted down over hundred meters and life retreated again towards the equator.
1,015,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years.
1,000,000
Homo Erectus became a new dominant species.  It created more functional tools and of course consequently attracted all the wives and especially the daughters from Homo Habitus to his luxury caves and to the fully erect life style.  His followers were the Java, Peking,  and Heidelberg men who developed later on to Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon
960,000 - 920,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the average. Oceans plummeted down over hundred meters and life retreated again towards the equator.
920,000
With advancement of the ever improving hunting and killing inventions, most picked directly from the nature, our ancestors begin to have excess leisure time at hand to really start pondering the more than abundant visible and invisible unexplained phenomenon he encounters while gathering food, hunting and fishing, and while looking the celestial world during day and night.  He had  plenty to explain and the first pre after life myths, precursors for religions, were born.
915,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C again within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years
865,000 - 820,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the current level
815,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years.
765,000 - 720,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the current level
715,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years.
665,000 - 620,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the current level
630,000
The last major eruption of Yellowstone super volcano.  Scientists have concluded that Yellowstone Park has been on a regular eruption cycle of  600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years ago…so the next is overdue. The next eruption could be 2,500 times the size of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Volcanologists have been tracking the movement of magma under the park and have calculated that in parts of Yellowstone the ground has risen over seventy centimeters this century.
The last major eruption of Yellowstone super volcano.  Scientists have concluded that Yellowstone Park has been on a regular eruption cycle of  600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years ago…so the next is overdue. The next eruption could be 2,500 times the size of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. Volcanologists have been tracking the movement of magma under the park and have calculated that in parts of Yellowstone the ground has risen over seventy centimeters this century.
615,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years
565,000 - 520,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the current level
515,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years.
465,000 - 420,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the current level
415,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years.
400,000
The new kids in the block, Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon with ever more sophisticated inventions, like sophisticated axes, started attracting the young wives and daughters from Homo Erectus, the stagnant model was now on its way out.
365,000 - 320,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the current level
350,000
A ceremonial rose quartz ax was laid down in a burial ceremony with 27 human skeletons, men women and children, in (UV Tarragona) Spain.  It is obvious from this find that the dawn of spirituality was already at hand, a find dating spirituality 250,000 further back in time than was thought .
333,388
Mayan Calendar Long term Epoch changes
307,588
Mayan Calendar Long term Epoch changes
315,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years.
281,788
Mayan Calendar Long term Epoch changes
265,000 - 220,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the current level
255,988
Mayan Calendar Long term Epoch changes
215,000

Britain became separated from mainland Europe after a catastrophic flood when a massive ice dam that covered North Sea broke sometime over 200,000 years ago, a sonar study of the English Channel confirms.  Without this the Britain would still be a peninsula connected to Europe (BBC news)

UK Ice Dam
UK Ice Dam 2

230,188
Mayan Calendar Long term Epoch changes
215,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years.
204,388
Mayan Calendar Long term Epech changes
178,588
Mayan Calendar Long term Epech changes
165,000 - 120,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank deg. 5C below the current level
152,788
Mayan Calendar Long term Epech changes
135,000
Genetic research shows that dog and wolf parted
135,000
The ever more comfort, luxury and power hungry wives and daughters had learned how to use all the levers of their power subtle ways - and not always so innocently.  The brute power was still the king but on side the smartness of some individuals showing up as "better luck" in fishing, hunting and finding shelter started gaining invisible power and strength.  This invisible new power forged the human development forward in major steps. 

With the cunning of the women the leisurely loafing of the men in warm afternoon sun was reduced to almost nothing to search for better life or even just for a new wife.  The men knew that search could turn deadly in an instant if someone else had the same target.  All things could not be always shared, so should one give up or fight, and if fight was there an option to end the fight if the purpose was not to kill?  

The lethal weapons, poison and the family at large rendered early on even the biggest bully and strongest muscles less useful against a large family or a group.  The use brute force against the fellow hunter had it's consequences if not that day then one day later on when the right opportunity presented itself.  The legal framework with some thoughts of a just behavior started emerging.

120,000 - 110,000

Finland, "Susiluola", Wolf Cave, located in Karijoki, formed a permanent dwelling during the last intergalactic period for the earliest known inhabitants anywhere on interglacial areas.  The bottom of the cave has a surface area of about 400 m^2 . 

Susiluola
Wolf Cave is a wide horizontal crevice in the primary rock and is named for its location on Wolf Mountain. The cave was formed as a result of erosion, and it is estimated to be more than 2.6 million years old. In the interglacial period, when the sea level was just outside the mouth of the cave, it was filled with layers of sediment and remained untouched, even though the cave is widely known in the area. The cave opening is 116.5 meters above the current sea level, and the ceiling of the cave is 2.2 meters high at the highest point. It is difficult to precisely determine the size of Wolf Cave because it is still partially filled by sediment layers.  Wolf Cave is situated in city of Kristiinankaupunki, but land-owner is Karijoki municipality.

This cave is so far the only place on earth where evidence of human inhabitancy has been found in a place that was later, during the ice age, covered by a continental glacier. Wolf Cave is northern Europe's oldest known human dwelling site.

It is very difficult to collect information about humans in Finland prior to the last ice age. In most places the last ice age destroyed evidence from the warmer interglacial periods of previous ice ages. Wolf Cave is like a small pocket that succeeded in avoiding the destruction. Because of this the cave is an exceptionally valuable research site. In the sediment levels of Wolf Cave we have found evidence of human habitation that includes stone tools, stone chips left from the making of such tools and old hearth remains. Based on the sediment level in which these artefacts were found and age calculations from analysis of pollen samples, these artefacts are estimated to be at least 120 000 years old. This means Neanderthals must have dwelt in the cave prior to the last ice age. It is even possible that they were there during one of the warmer breaks in the Saale Glaciation, the ice age that preceded the last ice age.

The excavations that started in 1996 found clear signs of human presence including stone tools and splinters formed when these tools were manufactured.  The excavators have also found signs of the early use of fire.  The dwellers have belonged most likely to Homo Erectus or Neanderthal species. 

Eem-interglasiaali was the warm period between 131,000–114,000 years ago.  The temperature in Finland was at that time about 4 degrees warmer than today.  The sea level was also 2 to 5 meters above the current.  The vegetation was different accordingly and the south European wood species were dominant in the forests up to Oulu latitudes in Finland.  The British Islands had at that time a subtropical climate like in the southern France today.  The Eem sea replaced the Baltic sea and separated the the whole Nordic region to an island from the current Russian territory.  The European continent was inhabited by Homo Neanderthal.  European hippopotamus, forest elephants and Merck rhinos were living on the British Islands.

The Wolf Cave is located just outside the rim of the 600 km diameter M&M 600 crater.  The increased cave formation on the southern and southeastern fringe areas of this specific carter may be natural as the stress forces created by the asteroid heart that may remain relatively intact below the central part of Finland.  This asteroid may actually be one of the reasons why the land mass in Finland is still raising in the West and tilting towards the east as is well visible from the shores of lake Oulu and further east.

 

126,988
Mayan Calendar Long term Epech changes
115,000
A new cycle and the temperature of the planet, and the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly.  Temperature rose about 10 deg C within 2,000 years and CO 2 levels rose from 180 ppm to 280 ppm level almost simultaneously.   The life was pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000 years.
101,188
Mayan Calendar Long term Epech changes
75,388
Mayan Calendar Long term Epech changes
65,000 - 20,000
Severe Ice Age, the average temperature sank and stayed 5 degrees C below the current levels
100,000 - 30,000
Middle Paleolithic era

50,000

The newest model, Homo Sapiens, was a sellout among the cave and temporary shelter wives and daughters and the new slicker and smarter model wiped out all previous versions literally "overnight" or do we say 20,000 years - perhaps the severe ice age that visited the planet some 15,000 years earlier and several quick highs and lows in earth's temperature rendered the slower thinkers less efficient in catching or finding enough food and protection against the elements accelerating this process...

Mayan long term Epock changes 49,588

45,000
The spear throwing mechanism was invented and extensively used in all continents (Africa?).  It gives a spear much higher velocity than achievable by hand only, and made it an efficient tool against big game, and especially against all elder human models like the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons.
30,000
Homo Sapiens started building first independent real houses and leaving the caves and the temporary shelters
30,000 - 10,000
Upper Paleolithic era
23,788
Mayan Calendar: The Epoc 23,788 BC- 2012 AD begins
18,662
Mayan Calendar a change of an epoch according to their 5,126 year cycle.
15,000 BC
Sunshine
The beginning of each 100,000 year interplanetary temperature cycle providing comfortable living conditions for the first 20,000+ years with temperatures rising up to 10 degrees C.  After that the temperature starts descending towards i'ts minimum that it reaches some 80,000 years later.  There will be a few +/- degrees fluctuations on the way caused by the earth's wobbling while it rotates around its own axis that interfere at 41,000, 23,000 and 19,000 year independent rotation cycles. A new theory is also indicating that the Sun may actually have two fluctuation frequencies in it's magnetic field with periods of either 41,000 or 100,000 years contradicting with that the older understanding..

The end of the old cycle appears logical even if the exact cause or "why" will likely be debated for a while.  In about 20,000 BC the CO2 content in the atmosphere started increasing rapidly again like it has done at the beginning of each of the previous 100,000 year cycles.  We know that CO2 and Methane are potent "greenhouse" gases and will slow down and even prevent heat radiation from earth back to the space.  This heat "trapping" mechanism is a result from shift in the infrared heat frequency coming from our sun that is reflected back to the space towards frequencies where CO2 will absorb more of this radiation - i.e. it traps some of this heat to the atmosphere instead of letting it pass through freely. 

It takes a mere 2,000 years from the beginning of the cycle to increase full 10 degrees C, and the CO2 level had risen from 180 ppm to 280 ppm simultaneously.   From that on forwards the life remains pleasant and plentiful for the next 20,000+ years.  The history records (6 of them) show that this comfortable temperature period lasts between 5,000 to 20,000 years - and we are still there. 

At the coldest time of the cycle the sea level drops about 120 meters below the current and when all the ice tied to polar caps and glaciers would melt the see level would rise about 80 meters above the current.  The low in sea level is stimulating to the development of all land creatures as it had allowed migrations between the continents.

Why does the 100,000 year interplanetary cycle cause temperature variation?  The surface of the earth is not homogenous regarding its ability to reflect and absorb sun's infrared heat radiation and consequently the predominant side that the earth offers towards the sun plays a major role in the surface temperature of the earth.  The system gets quickly complicated as you can see from the graph below.  Just think what seven a slight change in incoming solar radiation, cloud coverage, major volcanoes sending volcanic dust to the upper atmosphere, large asteroids whenever they hit, sinking and raising seal levels, changes in vegetation, amount of CO2 and Methane in the air, etc. 

IceAges
The 100,000 years cycle may be superceded by a still longer 400,000 year cycle though this is more speculation as we do not have enough data.  How do we know this?  We have drilled through the ice shelf in Antarctica and received physical year to year records (like three rings)  for the past 400,000 and 650,000 years taken from the US and Russian base stations in Antarctica.  

We understand very little of our sun itself, except that it appears to be stabile and has a 9 year sunspot cycle and it has been there at least for the past 4,500,000,000 years.  It is a stable thermonuclear device that currently burns hydrogen to heavier elements while radiating enormous amounts of energy to all directions.  It is a peculiar thermonuclear device as it's surface is held together only by gravity.  

Later on, about 4 billion years from now the helium runs out and it switches to helium.  This thermonuclear reactor burns much hotter and that means that the sun expands radically and that means the end of life on our planet.  The sun is currently ejecting high energy bursts in form of plasma eruptions and these blasts interfere with our satellite systems, all communications, and even the power grids. 

We also know that there is much more that we do not know as of yet.  We also know that if we could build a similar device on earth confined to a small sphere we would have a almost free energy lasting forever on our time scale.  To get there we will either need to hold the nuclear reaction  together by external pressure or energy fields, or we must create a locally defined gravity fields that can hold our nuclear device in balance with our environment.  Both these tasks are currently outside our understanding of the physics.

The picture on the right and two below show different presentations of the global temperatures development in the past.  The 400,000 year graph is from a Scientific American article shown a few years ago.

IceAGe2
IceAGE3