So.. the world formed 4.6 billion years ago when Scientists believed there was a Big Bang. It was just a rock for a billion years! Then the very first life began – tiny one-celled organisms that floated about in the sea. Another billion years went by before there were multi-celled creatures floating about. Over a very, very long time (you start to get an idea of how long this all took) the sea creatures began to evolve into fish and other organisms – jellyfish, seaweed, shrimps etc. Then another load of time went by and eventually some of the sea creatures began to come up out of the primordial swamp and develop legs – the first land creatures. At this point the world was still a volcanic planet that looked nothing like it does today. Over time plants became more complex, dinosaurs and birds evolved and finally mammals appeared, including apes.
It is from these apes that human beings are descended. But here’s the crazy thing. If the whole history of the Earth was a 24 hour day, then human beings would only exist in the last minute of that day. We feel we are so important – and we are! – but there is a huge amount that has happened on this planet before we came along. Now we are here and we are highly evolved creatures – we can walk, write, talk, develop technology, even fly to the Moon. However out biggest challenge is to look after the planet and make sure it stays healthy and that the other animals and plants on it can carry on existing too. Without plants there would be no oxygen for us to breathe. Without plants and animals we would have no food. So.. you’re all 10 years old. The future is up to you! No pressure. But you’re already showing an interest in Science and the World and asking great questions. So let’s hope you can grow up and help look after our planet. I hope you enjoy the answer and do keep asking fantastic questions. We hope to see you at your brilliant school again soon.
Lydia & Brad
PS Follow these links to learn more about Charles Darwin and Natural Selection..
http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/zq8gcdm - includes some video clips.
Good books - What Mr Darwin Saw and Who was Charles Darwin (both from Amazon)