• A sculpture of an ancient mollusk.

    "Movie Monster" Re-Created

    The Spiky Creature Lived About 390 Million Years Ago

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Humans have walked the Earth for 190,000 years, a mere blip in Earth's 4.5-billion-year history. Learn more about the planet's tumultuous past.

More About the Prehistoric World

  • <p>Image: Artwork of flying pterosaurs.</p>

    Prehistoric Time Line

    National Geographic's interactive time line takes you on a 4.5-billion-year-old trip through Earth's history⎯from its Precambrian birth to the birth of Homo sapiens some 190,000 years ago.

  • <p>Photo: Fossil of reptile wing</p>

    Pterosaurs—Lords of the Ancient Skies

    The largest animals that ever flew, pterosaurs ruled the Mesozoic skies for 150 million years, flapping and soaring long before the first bird ruffled a single feather.

  • <p>Photo: Woman digging up dinosaur bones</p>

    Fossil Wars

    In the international fossil trade, even priceless specimens have a price tag. Ancient bones can end up in a movie star's mansion as easily as in a museum.

  • Picture of a theoretical scene of the mass extinction of dinosaurs

    Mass Extinctions

    More than 90 percent of all organisms that have ever lived on Earth are extinct. Learn how millions of creatures can disappear in a geological blink of an eye—and see what might be next.

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