The Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds

The Evolution of Life in 60 Seconds is an experiment in scale: by condensing 4.6 billion years of history into a minute, the video serves as a self-contained timepiece. Like a specialized clock, it gives a sense of perspective. Every event – from the formation of the Earth, to the Cambrian Explosion, to the evolution of mice and squirrels – is proportionate to every other, displaying humankind as a blip, almost indiscernible in the layered course of history. This is useful, largely, for the sake of humility.

Each event in the Evolution of Life fades gradually over the course of the minute, leaving typographic traces that echo all the way to the present day, just as our blood still bears the salty tang of our most ancient evolutionary ancestors.

This video was commissioned by SEED Magazine for its Darwin Day 2009 celebration, and was screened at the 2009 Brooklyn International Film Festival.

Comments

  1. #1 katesisco
    February 27, 2010

    OK, liked the video. But again, we only know what our level of technology allows us to know.
    The continental masses are scraped clean, excepting that fragment in Canada and Aussie land. So, here on Ratland, where it is hot, flat and crowded, the only thing we can tell is that the sky has a lesser proportion of life that the hot, flat, crowded part. Bats are as old as Lake Titicaca. 2 million. We aren’t quite sure about the H2O part as we have yet to id all the stuff there.

  2. #2 artie
    February 28, 2010

    absolutely mindblowing that all the prehistoric and historic events are only a blink of the eye compared to dear old earth’s other activities. Our anthropocentric myopism is most evident the stories of our religious texts and popular culture. we need more geocentric or earth centered stories for ourselves and our children or else there may soon be no more storytellers.

  3. #3 richie
    March 4, 2010

    1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    2 Now the earth was [a] formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

    3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

    6 And God said, “Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water.” 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

    9 And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.

    11 Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

    14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16 God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17 God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, 18 to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

    20 And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.” 21 So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living and moving thing with which the water teems, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. 22 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23 And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

    24 And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: livestock, creatures that move along the ground, and wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

    26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, [b] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

    27 So God created man in his own image,
    in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.

    28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

    29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

    31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day

  4. #4 Claire L. Evans
    March 4, 2010

    What is this, Pharyngula?

  5. #5 James Ph. Kotsybar
    December 22, 2010

    SURVIVAL OF THE WITLESS
    — James Ph. Kotsybar

    When fire, water, earth and air were thought
    to be the elementals that composed
    all matter, folks did not remain distraught
    at what avant-garde chemists then proposed.
    Most understand that our world is a sphere,
    with only one natural satellite.
    No matter where folks sail, they do not fear
    they’ll reach Earth’s edge and fall into the night.
    Most even have embraced that time’s not fixed
    and have adopted relativity.
    So why should folks’ beliefs remain so mixed
    about evolution’s activity?
    Abundant evidence supports this view,
    yet institutions argue it’s not true.

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