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1Bil BC
In 1998 trace fossils of worm burrows were reported from what was a shallow sea in Central India about this time.
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1Bil BC
A worm later named Urbilateria lived about this time and gave rise to two of the great animal kingdoms: the protostomes, whose members include insects, mollusks and all manner of worms; and deuterostomes, whose surviving members include all vertebrates.
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1Bil BC
Bacteria teamed up with animal and plant cells about this time. This resulted in the formation of cellular mitochondria, which provided bodies power by burning glucose and using the energy created to form ATP, a molecule that is biology’s universal fuel.
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760Mil BC
550Mil BC
In 2012 researchers said tiny vase-shaped creatures' fossils were found in Namibia's Etosha National Park and other sites around the country in rocks dating to this period. A 10-member team of international researchers published their paper in the South African Journal of Science. The discovery pushed the emergence of animal life back millions of years.
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750Mil BC
Researchers at UC Riverside in 2009 reported evidence in rock sediments that indicated the presence of sponges dating back from 750 million to 635 million years ago. Sponges were believed to be one of the first animals to evolve from single-celled organisms.
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630Mil BC
542Mil BC
This is known as the Ediacaran Period, during which animals began to appear according to the fossil record. It is named after the locality in Australia where they were first discovered.
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560Mil BC
The Fermeuse formation of Newfoundland, Canada, dated to about this time. In 2014 scientists identified traces of muscle in a cnidarian, Haootia quadriformis, a creature related to modern jellyfish, sea anemones and coral.
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520Mil BC
An arthropod called a fuxhianhuiid, with primitive limbs under its head, as well as the earliest example of a nervous system that extended past the head, lived about this time. A 2013 study reported on fossils of the creature which lived nearly 50 million years before animals first emerged from the sea onto land.
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520Mil BC
An eyeless worm later dubbed Collinsium ciliosum filtered food from the ocean floor using frontal appendages developed into sieving baskets. Fossils of the armored creature were found in the rocks of China’s Yunnan province.
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515Mil BC
A clawed critter later called Lyrarapax unguispinus lived on the seabed of what became southwest China. It belonged to an extinct early arthropod group called anomalocaridids.
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500Mil BC
A huge shellfish-type creature called anomalocaris lived about this time. In 2011 Australian scientists hailed the discovery of a pair of insect-like eyes belonging to a freakish prehistoric super-predator. The fossilized eyes measuring three cm (1.2 inches) across and with a whopping 16,000 individual lenses.
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397Mil BC
Four-legged creatures were mucking around a muddy basin in what is now Poland about this time. In 2010 scientists reported the discovery of their fossilized footprints in the Holy Cross Mountains in southeastern Poland.
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365Mil BC
In 2008 scientists unearthed a skull, dating to about this time, of the most primitive four-legged creature in Earth's history, which should help them better understand the evolution of fish to advanced animals that walk on land. The fossil skull, shoulders and part of the pelvis of the water-dweller, Ventastega curonica, were found in Latvia.
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359Mil BC
345Mil BC
In 2005 it was reported that tracks of 4-legged terrestrial animals dated to this period were found at Nova Scotia’s Bay of Fundy.
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350Mil BC
270Mil BC
The amphibians, newts, salamanders and frogs are all that remain today of a group that became highly successful and varied in the Carboniferous and Permian periods. The rise of the insects provided a generous food supply. The amniote egg allowed the animal to develop to a stage resembling a fully grown adult gave freedom from the watery environment.
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350Mil BC
270Mil BC
The first amniotes were small, apparently secretive insect eaters. The remains of the earliest representatives were found inside fossilized trunks of hollow Nova Scotia logs.
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350Mil BC
270Mil BC
Over vast area of the Carboniferous sea floor the crinoids, the delicate, stalked, flower-like group of echinodermata, lived by the millions, raising their fragile calyces as much as a meter from the bottom.
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270Mil BC
Octopuses separated from other cephalopods about this time.
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260Mil BC
Scientists in 2011 reported the discovery of the remains of a saber-toothed vegetarian. The leaf-crunching animal, about the size of a large dog, lived 260 million years ago in what is now Brazil. Its upper canine teeth were nearly 5 inches long.
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230Mil BC
200Mil BC
In 2015 scientists reported that a large primitive amphibian, named Metoposaurus algarvensis, lived about this time in southern Portugal. It grew to the size of a samll car and lived much like crocodiles do feeding mainly on fish.
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170Mil BC
The semi-aquatic platypus is thought to have split off from a common ancestor shared with humans approximately about this time. In 2008 scientists laid bare the platypus genome of 2.2 billion base pairs spread across 18,500 genes.
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164Mil BC
In 2006 a fossil from this time found in Inner Mongolia in China was reported to have been a mammal with a flat, scaly tail like a beaver, vertebra like an otter and teeth like a seal that swam in lakes eating fish. The new animal, about the size of a small female platypus, is not related to modern beavers or otters but has features similar to them. The researchers named it Castorocauda lutrasimilis.
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130Mil BC
Lines leading to mice and men separated about this time.
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99Mil BC
96Mil BC
A saber-toothed, squirrel-like creature lived about this time. Fossils of the animal, named Cronopio dentiacutus, were discovered in 2011 in the Rio Negro region of Argentina.
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52Mil BC
In 2008 the fossil of a bat from this time indicated that it could fly but not navigate through echolocation. It was found in Wyoming and scientists named it Onychonycteridae finneyi, meaning clawed bat due to claws on all five fingers.
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36Mil BC
In 2005 scientists in Peru reported the discovery of a giant penguin that lived about this time on the Peruvian coastline. The bird was named Icadyptes salasi. It stood over 5-feet and lived during one of the warmest periods of the world’s history.
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34Mil BC
23Mil BC
Indricotherium, a 15-foot tall mammal, lived during this period. It was later said to be the largest known mammal and related to the modern day rhinoceros.
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15Mil BC
In Australia sheep-sized relatives of modern-day wombats lived treetops about this time. The wombat-like marsupial was later named Nimbadon lavarackorum. The world's largest tree-climbing marsupial were among fossils found at the Riversleigh World Heritage Site in Queensland state. The Nimbadon fossil material was found in 2010.
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8Mil BC
About this time Phoberomis pattersoni, a giant rodent related to later guinea pigs, wallowed in the coastal marshes of northwestern Venezuela.
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4Mil BC
In 2008 Paleontologists reported the skull of a giant rodent of this time found in a broken boulder on Kiyu Beach on the coast of Uruguay's River Plate region. It was estimated to have weighed an average of 1,008 kilos (1.008 tonnes, 2,217 pounds) and was dubbed Josephoartigasia monesi, in honor of Alvaro Mones, a Uruguayan paleontologist who specialized in South American rodents.
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2Mil BC
In 2007 researchers reported that the first skull of the earliest known ancestor of the giant panda has been discovered in China and estimated to be at least 2 million years old. The animal, formally known as Ailuropoda microta, or "pygmy giant panda," would have been about 3 feet long, compared to the modern giant panda, which averages in excess of five feet.
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2Mil BC
50
000BC In Australia a herbivorous diprotodon, the largest marsupial to ever roam the earth, lived about this time. A fossil of the car sized mega-wombat was unearthed in northern Australia in 2011.
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1Mil BC
DNA evidence in 2008 suggested that the black rat originated in South-East Asia about this time and then split into 6 lines, one of which colonized India and the Middle East and then spread to Europe.
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600000 BC
DNA evidence in 2012 indicated that the polar bears species dated back to about this time.
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180000 BC
On Malta the Ghar Dalam cave near the harbor of Marsaxlokk revealed bones dating to about this time of an extinct pygmy hippo and elephant.
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130000 BC
The lineage that includes the domestic cat and its wild relatives originated about this time. Genetic analysis in 2007 suggested that the transformation of a vicious predator into a docile tabby took place about 10,000 years ago.
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100000 BC
Hunters stalked giant camels in the Syrian desert about this time. Bones of the “Syrian Camel,” as tall as some modern-day elephants, were discovered 150 miles north of Damascus in 2005.
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48000 BC
18000 BC
In 2011 the journal Current Biology reported that all polar bears today have descended from one female brown bear in Ireland between 20,000 and 50,000 years ago.
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43000 BC
Scientists in 2008 reported that one of two genetically distinct mammoth groups went extinct about this time.
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43000 BC
In 2016 Russian scientists reported that mammoth bones from about this time, found near the Kara Sea in Siberia, indicated that they were hunted by humans.
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38000 BC
One group of wooly mammoths died off in North America about this time for unknown reasons. The demise of a 2nd group took place about 10,900BC.
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15590 BC
Saber tooth cats roamed the hills north of Las Vegas about this time. Fossils of the front legs of such a cat were identified in 2012.
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14600 BC
14100 BC
A canine jaw, dating to this time, was found in Switzerland in 1873. Analysis in 2010 indicated the age of the bone and proved humans were keeping dogs at this time.
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14000 BC
9000 BC
The Columbia mammoths, Mammuthus columbi, went extinct during this period. The species grew as tall as 14 feet and ranged widely in California. Remains were later found as far south as Florida and Central America.
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9000 BC
Canine transmissible venereal tumor (CTVT) is believed to have originated about this time in a single dog. By 2016 it was found in dogs worldwide.
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8000 BC
In 2007 new genetic analysis suggested that the transformation of a vicious predator into a docile tabby took place about this time in the remote deserts of the Middle East.
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8000 BC
Mastodons roamed over Ohio. In 1887 Newton S. Conway discovered the skeleton of a mastodon on his farm on the Clark-Champaign County line. It became known as the Conway Mastodon.
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8000 BC
It is believed that the Chinese became to first to domesticate wild boars about this time.
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6000 BC
The last wooly rhino died about this time.
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2500 BC
1
A sacrificial dump in Guanghan, Sichuan Province, in China was uncovered in 1976 and dated to this period. Large quantities of elephants tusks reveal that elephants roamed the area. Human figures, monster masks, and tree fragments made of bronze tubes were also found.
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2000 BC
About this time the Egyptians domesticated the cat in order to catch snakes. Advances in astronomy enabled the Egyptians to predict the annual flooding of the Nile.
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1000 BC
Camels were domesticated about this time.
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250 BC
In India Emperor Ashoka ordered a sculpture of four Asiatic lions about this time. The image later became a model emblazoned on India’s passports and currency.
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246 BC
222 BC
Ptolemy III Euergeter served as Egypt’s 3rd ruler of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. In 2010 archeologists discovered a temple, thought to belong to Queen Berenice, wife of King Ptolemy III who ruled Egypt in the 3rd century B.C. Archeologists believed that the temple might have been dedicated to the ancient cat-goddess Bastet.
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137 BC
Dutugemunu (Dutthagamani), Sinhalese king of Sri Lanka (161BC to 137 BC), died. He gained rule after defeating Elara, a Tamil usurper from India. He is said to have slain the invader while riding his elephant Kandula.
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200
50
000BC Fossils from this period of horses, turtles, giant bison and Columbian mammoths were found in 2015 during grading at the Carlsbad Quarry Creek in southern California.
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776
Al-Jahiz (d.868), Muslim theologian and scholar, was born in Basra about this time. He is credited with writing nearly two hundred works, although fewer than one hundred survive today. His most famous work is Al-Hayawan” (The Book of animals), which merges discussions of zoology with philosophy.
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960
England’s King Edgar imposed an annual tribute of 300 wolf skins on Idwal, king of Wales.
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1250
1300
Maori ancestors arrived in New Zealand. By 2013 the country had lost 51 species of birds, 3 of frogs, 3 of lizards and one of a freshwater fish.
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1487
Lorenzo the Magnificent ordered a giraffe from Africa and a cardinal’s hat for his 13-year-old son from Pope Innocent VIII. In return for the hat Lorenzo promised the hand of his eldest daughter for the Pope’s illegitimate son along with a nice loan. The giraffe was procured from Sultan Qaitbay, the Ottoman ruler of Egypt. Pope Innocent promised to get Queen Anne of France to hand over Djem, the exiled brother of Qaitbay, for use as a pawn. Lorenzo promised to give the giraffe to Anne. In 2006 the story was covered by Marina Belozerskaya in her book “The Medici Giraffe.”
Links: Italy, Turkey, France, Vatican, Egypt, Animal     Click to see the source(s) for this event 
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