Scientific research and centuries of physical evidence has convinced scientists to approximate the Earth’s existence at 4.6 billion years. Visiting Professor of Biology Christopher Frost took his General Biology class on a journey through the Earth’s timeline last Friday.
Using the Dort Promenade as a linear guide, the General Biology class laid out vital points of creation and destruction throughout the history of Earth, leading up to the evolution of humans. There have been five major extinction events in history, including the death of the dinosaurs, and various points of creation and remarkable evolution.
The Dort Promenade draws out to a length of 1,478 feet. In the illustrated timeline created by Frost’s General Biology students, one foot is equal to 3.1 million years. A few of the major milestones of creation included in this experiment are the availability of oxygen at 771 million years into Earth’s life, the formation of the prokaryote, just nine feet farther at 780 million years and the establishment of the first multicellular organism which reached slightly past the Four Winds Café. It is not until the very last foot of the Dort Promenade – in fact the last inch – when evolved humans come into existence.
“We would walk a certain amount of steps which was the equivalent of a certain amount of time, it was almost like walking through history and very satisfying at the end,” Giulia Heyward, first-year Catalyst staff writer and student in Frost’s General Biology class said.
The students in the General Biology class were split into groups and assigned a time period from which to choose a major event. Banners and flags were then designed by each group to mark important events throughout time.
”There are two potential interpretations to the realization that all of humanity occupies two square centimeters of the entire promenade of life,” Frost said. “One is that we are insignificant, the other is that we are fortunate because we are the only known species that can recognize and have awareness of this fact.”
Due to a simple lack of time, the class did not get to map out the entire Earth’s timeline as planned. However, since all the banners and flags were completed, the class plans on finishing the linear timeline this Friday at 1 p.m.