Tuesday, December 16, 2014

"Here's the tiny human twig in the Tree of Life"

Pointer to Nick Land for drawing my attention to this.

From the Tree of Life Web Project : "[T]his epic infographic is one monster family tree, showing the history of 3.5 billion years of life on Earth."
As you look at the graphic, realise that time radiates outward and each kingdom’s appearance is also in chronological order from left to right. What you’ll discern then is a story of origins and mass extinctions, the way life almost bided its time through the Ice Age then hit the gas through the Cambrian Explosion. It was here when the protostomes (everything from trilobites to squids) simply went nuts, and the separation of plants vs. animals as we know them arose. 
Those big white splotches that disrupt various branches throughout the tree represent either extinction events or the end of species whose evolutionary pathway did not lead to further species. 
It’s a pretty sobering thought that humans, all the way down there in the bottom right-hand corner, have been wiping their way through so many species, particularly in the past half a century."
It's also sobering to see how late in the game humans have arrived, and how another mass extinction seems inevitable.  As Whitehead said, other cosmic epochs are indeed possible.  It's mind boggling to see the various natural historical epochs - even those of the earth's own life forms.