(updated August 16, 2009)
Matter, Space, Time, and Life (7 of 7)
From ~30,000 Years Ago
to the Future & Infinity
Walking With Beasts -- Mammoth Journey
"... Filming location: Yukon
30,000 years ago — Late Pleistocene — dry bed of the
North Sea and the
[featured in this episode]
- the North Sea has become a grassy plain because the
at the polar caps has caused the sea levels to drop signifi-
cantly; grazing on the plain are herds of woolly mammoths,
reindeer, and bison; a clan of Cro-Magnons is also there
spending the summer
- the migration of the herd of mammoth as they
kilometers from the North Sea to the Swiss Alps for the
winter and then back again in the spring
- as the mammoth herd
migrates south, two large deer, the
Megaloceros, fight for rights to a harem of females; as the
male Megaloceros fight, a group of humans ambushes them
and kills one.
- a mother mammoth and her baby are separated from the
herd, but survive an encounter with a European Lion; when
the herd of mammoths reaches the Swiss Alps, the mother
and baby mammoth reunite with their herd
- a clan of Neanderthals -- one is charged by a woolly
ceros, but escapes; the clan of Neanderthals attack the herd
of mammoth and chase two of the young mammoths off a
cliff by using fire and axes
- Mammuthus primigenius (Woolly Mammoth)
- Coelodonta (Woolly rhinoceros)
- Panthera leo spelaea (European Lion)
- Bison (live acted)
- Saiga Antelope (live acted)
- Mosquito (live acted)
- Wolf (live acted)
- Cave Hyena (in book and heard howling in the
Massive volcanic eruption which created Lake Taupo
European cave paintings over 25,000 years ago
provide evidence of a complex and modern society:
The brief Solutrean period (22,000 to 19,000 years ago)
of toolmaking introduced very elegant tool designs made
possible by heating and suddenly cooling flint stones to
shatter them in carefully controlled ways:
Massive volcanic eruption in Aira, Japan:
Earliest settlement of northeast Asia.
Wild cereal gathering - western Asia.
View of the earth at the last glacial maximum:
Height of the last glaciation, reaching deep into North
America; sea levels are 100 to 130 meters lower than
The Magdalenian period (18,000 to 12,000 years ago)
of toolmaking saw the increased use of very small
flaked stones for arrows and spears, multibarbed
harpoon points, and spear throwers made of wood,
bone or antler.
During this period a new tool appears -- symbolic
representation, as in cave paintings from Chauvet --
and with it human culture as a realm of shared
representation and visualization, rather than solely
of shared technical process:
Fish hooks; huts made of mammoth bones;
beginning of widespread colonization of North
Jomon hunter-gatherers make the first pottery
Rope; beginning of widespread colonization of
South America; ice sheet from most recent ice age
begins to retreat northward.
The first farmers grew wheat and rye 13,000 years
ago in Syria and were forced into cultivating crops
by a terrible drought:
Saber-toothed tiger extinct; end of most recent
ice age; ice land bridge connecting Asia to North
America melted/inundated by water.
For voluminous details on human civilizations,
philosophies, and changing religions used in much
of the material, refer to
Extinction of mammoth, perhaps due to
overhunting; farming widespread and sun-dried
mud bricks used - western Asia; incipient
agriculture (cultivation of wild cereals) begins
in the Fertile Crescent (Middle East).
Goats domesticated from bezoar goats in the
Near East; high altitude Andean grasses of South
America were initially cultivated into crops of
quinoa, arwi, and canihua, along with squash,
peppers, and beans in the area of Ayacucho,
Walled towns; organized agriculture; domesticated
animals; people of Jericho decorated human skulls
for use in religious rituals; sheep domesticated from
Asiatic moufflon in the Near East; manos and metates
(grinding stones) used for milling grain provide
evidence of the domestication of food plants in
Mexico and Peru.
Earliest evidence of pottery in southern China.
Pigs domesticated from wild boars in the Near East.
Main crafts in Catal Huyuk, Turkey - pottery and
obsidian tools; main craft in Jarmo, Iraq - textiles;
stone spade first used - China; animal carvings
made in bone, antler, and amber - Denmark and
Cattle domesticated from aurochs and cats
domesticated from wild cats in the Near East.
Earliest evidence of pottery in the central Sahara
and in Persia.
Evidence people learned how to extract metals
Potatoes, manioc, oca, and ulloco all domesticated
in South America; rice cultivation in the Yangtze
Earliest European agriculturists settled in farming
villages on the plains of Thessaly and Crete; crops
of millet raised on terraces of river valleys and
chickens domesticated from red jungle fowl in
China; crops developed on Indus river plain.
Wheat and barley cultivation introduced into the Nile
Valley from West Asia 8,000 years ago.
Earliest evidence for farming in the Indian sub-
Several cultures leave evidence of their existence
Earliest evidence of pottery in east Africa.
First ziggurats built - Sumer; rice first cultivated
in China; copper and irrigation used in Mesopotamia;
llama domesticated from guanaco in the Andes; the
wild grass teosinte was gradually modified by
selection of bigger ears of corn until it was at
this time recognized as a domesticated type of
maize (corn) in Mesoamerica; metal objects made
by hammering, pure gold and copper, produced in
In Europe, copper had been picked from the ground
and used as jewelry. The Europeans shaped the copper
by pounding it cold. Then someone discovered that
heating copper made it more malleable. Working with
metals had begun in southeastern Europe as early as
around 6,600 years ago -- almost a thousand years
before it reached Asia Minor:
Southeast Europe becomes an important center of
gold and copper-working; farming begins around
Ganges river in India; cave art flourishes in northern
Africa; first megalithic tombs in Britain and Portugal
and passage graves in France; farming adopted in
western Europe and within 1,000 years, larger areas
of forest had been cleared.
Horses domesticated from tarpans in southern
Large-scale settlement of fertile Indus river plain;
pyramid temples in Peru; donkeys domesticated
from wild asses in the Near East.
It was around this time that a people called Sumerians
moved into Mesopotamia, perhaps from around the
Caspian Sea. And the Sumerians found among the
Ubaidians a people who spoke a Semitic language
who had moved in among the Ubaidians. Within
200 years, the Sumerians supplanted the Ubaidians
and Semites and established a civilization lasting
until 4,400 years ago.
Sumerians begin use of clay tablets to keep records.
They built better canals for irrigating crops and for
transporting crops by boat to village centers. They
improved their roads, over which their donkeys
trod, some of their donkeys pulling wheeled carts.
And the Sumerians grew in number, the increase in
population the key element in creating what we call
civilization -- a word derived from an ancient word
At least twelve cities arose among the Sumerians.
Among them were Ur, Uruk, Kish and Lagash -- Ur,
for example, becoming a city of about 24,000 people.
In the center of each city was a temple that housed
the city's gods, and around each city were fields
of grain, orchards of date palms, and land for
In northwest China, the Yangshao people produce
painted pottery and live in settlements that are
partially underground; in east and northeast China,
the Longshan produce jade carvings and black
pottery and practice divination by a practice
Earliest evidence of pottery in the Americas, north
of the Amazon in South America (Guyana).
Cities and city-states distinguished by size,
planning, architecture, and fortifications first
appeared in Egypt and Mesopotamia; sailing
boats used on the Nile in Egypt; earliest
Chinese city founded, Liang-ch'eng-chen.
From sometime around 5,500 years ago the
Egyptians began building a system of dikes
and sluices, and around this time Egypt began
growing food in greater abundance than else-
where in Africa. The construction would con-
tinue for more than a millennium so that by
4,000 years ago both sides of the Nile would
be a checkerboard of water basins, sluices
and canals, with water being drawn from
basins upstream whenever water was insuf-
Evidence of plows and pottery in Britain.
Development of cuneiform in Mesopotamia.
People of Britain and northwestern France start
erecting stone monuments and henges - circular
ditch and bank enclosures - a practice which
continues for 1,700 years.
First Egyptian dynasty founded by King Narmer,
a local chieftan, uniting Upper and Lower Egypt
5,100 years ago. The Egyptian civilization lasted
for 2,385 years.
24 hour day devised in Babylon; hieroglyphic
script developed in Egypt; camels domesticated
from wild camels in south central Asia and southern
An advanced Longshun culture migrates from
eastern China westward, using burial practices
showing signs of a hierarchy which becomes
Permanent settlements of 5 to 10 houses established
in the Tehaucan Valley in Mexico.
Sumerians at war (pike and shield carrying army of
King Eannatum of Lagash tramples on the defeated
of the city of Umma):
Clay female figurines, temple platforms, and
shrines in various places on the central coast
Rise of Indus Valley civilization in Pakistan
& Northwest India, said civilization lasting for
Map of India up to 2,500 years ago:
It becomes common to alloy copper with tin to
produce bronze, initiating the Bronze Age; Sahara
region begins to dry out; complex ceremonial
centers, small towns built of mud brick and
stone, sunken courts, ritual pits, ceremonial
centers, and irrigable river valleys on the
Pyramids of Giza built - Egyptian pyramid con-
struction took place over a period of about 500
years starting 4,700 years ago, with the Great
Pyramid being built during the reign of Pharoah
Cheops 4,550 to 4,528 years ago.
Map of Mesopotamia up
to 4,500 years ago:
Map of Africa from 4,500 to 3,500 years ago:
In Mesopotamia, just north of the Sumerians, a
Semitic people had settled. And pushing on the
Sumerians, a dynasty of Semitic kings came to
rule the city of Kish.
There, around 4,400 years ago, a former cup-
bearer to one of these kings overthrew the ruling
dynasty. With good military tactics that included
holding and fighting from high ground, he extended
his rule. He defeated the Sumerian king of Nippur,
where the Sumerian god Enlil was believed to dwell.
He claimed that his victories were given to him by
Enlil. And he became known as Sargon the Great:
Map of Sargon's empire:
Rise of Akkadian civilization in Mesopotamia,
said civilization lasting for 120 years.
Between 4,300 and 4,000 years ago, Indo-Euro-
peans moved south into Greece, and in the southern
portion of Greece they conquered and made them-
selves an aristocracy over those who had migrated
there many centuries before. These latest migrants
are known as the Mycenae Greeks, who had gods
similar to other Indo-Europeans, including a father
god of the sky called Zeus, whom they believed
held power over the entire world:
Map of the Aegean region, up to 2,300 years ago:
Rise of Minoan civilization in Crete, said
civilization lasting for 750 years.
Where people were producing more food than
they needed to survive, warriors had the incentive
not only to plunder but also to conquer. And
conquering kings arose on the North China Plain
as they did in West Asia. The first dynasty of kings
in the north China plain has been described as
belonging to the Xia family -- whose rule is thought
to have begun around 4,200 years ago:
Ur-Nammu of Ur, a Mesopotamian King, writes the
first known law code in the world.
Chariots first used and end of Sumerian power in
Mesopotamia; guinea pigs domesticated from cavies
in Peru; settlements fortified in eastern and central
Europe, a phenomenon that spreads westward within
Iron smelting developed in Mesopotamia.
Rise of Assyrian civilization in Mesopotamia and
Syria, said civilization lasting for 911 years.
Hammurabi becomes King of Babylon.
Graphics of Babylon with Ziggurat:
The Stele of Hammurabi's law code was made
(it now resides in the Louvre Museum in Paris).
The upper part of the basalt pillar shows the king
in prayer before the seated Shamash, the sun god
and god of justice. Shamash is winged and is also
wearing the divine horned crown and is holding in
his right hand a sun's ray. The lower part of the
stele is inscribed in cuneiform and Hammurabi's
282 laws carved in 49 vertical columns. The
opening words describe the king's wish "to cause
justice to prevail in the land, to destroy the wicked
and the evil, that the strong may not oppress the
The idea of punishment found in the old testament
of the bible - "Life for life, eye for eye, tooth for
tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot" (Deuteronomy
chapter 19, verse 21) - also occurs in Hammurabi's
Text of Hammurabi's Code of Law:
Rise of Shang Dynasty in the north China plain, said
dynasty lasting ~750 years; China consisted of a vast
system of kingdoms which acknowledged a loose
allegiance to an emperor called the "Son of Heaven",
encompassing the belief that Heaven had granted rule
over earth to the emperor:
Rise of old Babylonian civilization in Mesopotamia,
Syria, & Palestine, said civilization lasting for 42 years.
Early alphabetic script developed in Phoenicia.
Rise of Hittite civilization in Asia Minor & Syria,
said civilization lasting for 440 years.
The Hyksos, an Asiatic people, take control of much
of Egypt until driven out by Ahmosis 63 years later.
Mycenean citadels built in Greece; rise of Mycenean
civilization in Greece, said civilization lasting
for 500 years.
Development of Chinese pictographs; development
of Proto-Canaanite alphabet, eventually branching
into Phoenician, Sabean, Nabatean, Aramaic, Brahmin,
and other written languages.
Development of Greek city-states; rapid expansion
of Mesoamerica and central Andes populations due
to maize farming; silk fabric first made in China.
Aryan invasion of northwest India, establishing
a civilization lasting for 1,000 years and which
encompassed the growth of the caste system and
the religion of Hinduism followed (towards the
end of the period) by Jainism and Buddhism:
First shadow clocks in Egypt.
Egypt historical tidbit of interest: Amenophis IV
abandons the worship of Amun in favor of the
Aten, the sun-disk - he changes his name to
Akhenaten and moves his capital from Thebes.
Egypt historical tidbit of interest: Tutankhaten,
who is advised to give up Aten worship, returns
to Thebes and changes his name to Tutankhamun
(his burial treasures, discovered in 1922, have
made him one of the most famous of pharaohs).
First known writing appeared in the Shang civilization
of the north China plain (1300 BCE) -- writing that
developed more than three thousand characters,
partly pictorial and partly phonetic:
Rise of Olmec civilization in Mexico; the central
fortress in Athens, Greece (later known as the
Acropolis) is enclosed by massive walls.
The word Hebrew appears to have been derived from
the world Hiberu, which was found in writing sent to
Egypt by one of the small states that Egypt had left
behind when it withdrew from Canaan over 3,300
years ago (in the 1300s BCE). These states were
disturbed by the arrival of nomadic tribes that came
in waves across generations. Hiberu meant outsider
and probably referred to a great variety of migrants.
The Hebrews appear to have been semi-nomadic
herders of sheep and goats and occasional farmers,
without knowledge of metal working, sophisticated
craftsmanship or a written language. Like other
nomadic herders, they were tent dwellers -- as
Abraham is described in Genesis 13:3.
As was common among herders, the Hebrews
had a masculine god of the sky and weather.
The Hebrews organized themselves around their
extended families, and Hebrew families were
combined into kinship groups governed by
a council of elders that left the head of a family
with a sense of self-rule. These heads of families
were males with absolute authority over their
wives and children, and they were the priests
for their families, each family having its own
Typical of pastoral peoples, Hebrews saw
vengeance as necessary for justice -- an eye for
an eye and a tooth for a tooth. They believed in
collective guilt: that an extended family, clan, or
tribe was responsible for the acts of one of its
members -- a view that was to color their picture
of divine acts of vengeance. Like other peoples,
the Hebrews saw their god of the sky as concerned
with them rather than as a god for all peoples.
Genesis 15:18 describes their god as making
a covenant with Abraham, saying: "To your
descendants I have given this land, from the
river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river
Similar to other pastoral peoples, the Hebrews
had a portable sacred box, which they called
the Ark of the Covenant, described in the Old
Testament as about 3 by 2 feet, with poles
along its sides. And, as did other peoples, they
carried their sacred box into battle, believing
that it would be bring divine intervention and
Complex large-scale societies with works of Chavin
style flourish in the Andes for 1,000 years.
Map of Shang civilization, north China plain, as
of 3,200 years ago:
Map of West Asia (Cilicia, Asia Minor, Syria,
Canaan, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Cyprus) to 3,200
Around 3,200 years ago, Dorian Greeks -- who
had been living just north of Greece and spoke a
dialect different from the Mycenae Greeks -- began
the first of their invasions into the Greek peninsula.
Rise of Phoenician civilization in eastern Mediter-
ranean (Palestine: colonies Gilbratar, Carthage,
Sardinia), said civilization lasting for 768 years;
decline of Mycenaean civilization (Greek dark
ages), said decline lasting 400 years.
Rabbits domesticated from wild rabbits in
- - -
For details on the last 3,000 years of history,
see HyperHistory Online:
Workings of a Natural World (Summary - 1628 BC
to 1966 AD):
- 11th Century through the 20th Century:
Astronomers size up the
universe (it's about 156 billion
Details on current composition of the universe, based on
than 95% of the energy
density in the universe
is in a form that has never been directly detected in
Cold Dark Matter. Dark
matter is likely
composed of one or more species of sub-
atomic particles that interact very weakly with
Particle physicists have many
plausible candidates for the dark matter,
new particle accelerator experiments are likely
to bring new insight in the coming years.
Dark Energy. ... If 72% of
density in the universe is in the form of dark
energy, which has a gravitationally repulsive
effect, it is just the right amount to explain both
the flatness of the universe and the observed
accelerated expansion. Thus dark energy
explains many cosmological observations at
- - -
Selected Topics : Current Day ...
Reference - Earth - Current view of the earth:
Reference - Earthquake Hazards Program:
Reference - Encyclopedia Britannica:
- User-Constructed Encyclopedia:
Reference - Field Guide to Over 4800
North American Plants and Animals:
Reference - Health Information:
Reference - How Stuff Works:
Reference - Natural Science Links:
Reference - Physics Encyclopedia:
Reference - Tsunami - Giant Wave
Could Threaten U.S.:
Reference - Weather:
Social - United States - Death Penalty:
Social - United States - Drug War:
Social - World - Human Languages, top 12
from the World Almanac 2000:
Social - World - Religions ... Origins, Geographical
- - -
of the 21st Century ...
Health and Environment:
How We Will Live:
Our Work, Our World:
The Next Millennium: Now What?
Michio Kaku On Future Civilization
Forecasts for continental drift ...
+ 50 million years from now ....
Possible future view of the earth:
+ 150 million years from now ...
Possible future view of the earth:
+ 250 million years from now ....
Possible future view of the earth, Pangea Ultima:
Click-drag virtual reality display of continental drift
forecast from the present day to ~250 million years
in the future:
- - -
of Our Universe ...
The following excerpts / forecasts are from
The Five Ages of the Universe: Inside the Physics
of Eternity, by Fred Adams, Greg Laughlin
+ A few billion years from now ....
Earth will closely resemble the present-day Venus,
with a hellish atmosphere fueled by a runaway
+ 10 to the 14th power since the big bang ....
Roughly 100 trillion years since the big bang, the
end of the stelliferous era sets in when the galaxies
run out of hydrogen gas, star formation ceases,
and the longest-lived red dwarfs slowly fade away.
The stars stop shining.
+ 10 to the 39th power since the big bang ....
The degenerate era - at the end of this era, an
entire galaxy of white dwarfs has a total luminosity
smaller than one ordinary hydrogen-burning star
like the Sun.
+ 10 to the 100th power since the big bang ...
The black hole era - All black holes are slated for
destruction - this era ends when the largest black
holes have evaporated.
+ 10 to the 101st power since the big bang,
and beyond ....
Only leftover waste products from the decay of
protons and the evaporation of black holes remains:
photons of colossal wavelength, neutrinos, electrons,
and positrons. Energy levels are low and the expanses
of time are mind-boggling.
All That Is, All That Was, All That Ever Will Be?
"... Immortality? ... Immortal Suffering? ...
... Pleasant Immortality Hope? ... Totality of Reality?
... Cosmological Calendar ... The Universe - Cosmic
(Part 1 of 5) The Universe - Cosmic Apocalypse
Big Crunch (brief mention of Big Chill / Big Rip)
(Part 2 of 5) The Universe - Cosmic Apocalypse
Big Rip / Big Chill / Law of Thermodynamics
(Part 3 of 5) The Universe - Cosmic Apocalypse
Big Chill / Red Dwarfs / Cosmological Calendar /
White Dwarfs / Degenerate Era
(Part 4 of 5) The Universe - Cosmic Apocalypse
Degenerate Era / Black Hole Era
(Part 5 of 5) The Universe - Cosmic Apocalypse
Dark Era / Ice Age / Quantum Theory /
Bubbles (Phase Transitions) / Multiple Universes /
Gateways to Other Universes?
- - -
--- end 7 of 7 ---