Our world was born in a ball of burning gas 4.6-billion years
ago, in a universe that is about 14-billion years old. Over time it
cooled, the early atmosphere formed, and the first land masses
appeared. The first life forms, which were like the black algae you
sometimes see in swimming pools today, emerged about 3.8-billion
The history of life on Earth has been rocked by five major
extinctions. The last great extinction was 65-million years ago,
when the dinosaurs were wiped out, probably after a giant meteor
slammed into the Earth off the coast of Mexico, and set off
volcanic eruptions all over the world, changing the global climate.
Today, some scientists say we are in the midst of the sixth major
extinction - and its cause is us.
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