Earth and Life: A Dance through Time

by Andy Knoll (Harvard)

NRM, Stora Hörsalen

NRM, Stora Hörsalen Stora hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet in Stockholm, Frescativägen 40, lower level.
We live on a planet that records its own history, including an interwoven narrative of evolution and environmental change through time. Earth and life influence each other on many scales, none more dramatic than the largest, planetary in extent and billions of years long. Sedimentary rocks indicate Earth was O2-free for the first billion years of biological history. Oxygen began to accumulate in the atmosphere 2400 million years ago, but only much later did our familiar world of breathable air take shape. Throughout Earth history, environment has both constrained and facilitated evolution; organisms in turn continually influence the environmental stage on which evolution takes place.