Big History as a Fable Part II

Sex and death evolved – processes that vastly increased the rate of natural selection. Some organisms evolved hard parts, climbed onto, and survived on the land. The pace of production of more complex forms accelerated. Flight evolved. Enormous four-legged beasts thundered across the steaming jungles. Small beasts emerged, born live, instead of in hard-shelled containers filled with replicas of the early oceans. They survived through swiftness and cunning – and increasingly long periods in which their knowledge was not so much preprogrammed in selfreplicating molecules as learned from parents and experiences.

All the while, the climate was variable. Slight variations in the output of sunlight, the orbital motion of the planet, clouds, oceans, and polar icecaps produced climatic changes – wiping out whole groups of organisms and causing the exuberant proliferation of other, once insignificant, groups.

And then … the Earth grew somewhat cold. The forests retreated. Small arboreal animals climbed down from the trees to seek a livelihood on the savannas. They became upright and tool-using. They communicated by producing compressional waves in the air with their eating and breathing organs. They discovered that organic material would, at a high enough temperature, combine with atmospheric oxygen to produce the stable hot plasma called fire. Postpartum learning was greatly accelerated by social interaction. Communal hunting developed, writing was invented, political structures evolved, superstition and science, religion and technology.

And then one day there came to be a creature whose genetic material was in no major way different from the self-replicating molecular collectives of any of the other organisms on his planet, which he called Earth. But he was able to ponder the mystery of his origins, the strange and tortuous path by which he had emerged from star-stuff. He was the matter of the cosmos, contemplating itself. He considered the problematical and enigmatic question of his future. He called himself Man. He was one of the starfolk. And he longed to return to the stars.


Carl Sagan's account of the history of our Universe continued.

Folksonomies: wonder big history

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/science/physics (0.481166)
/science (0.397585)

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Carl Sagan:Person (0.874097 (negative:-0.246008)), selfreplicating:City (0.685954 (neutral:0.000000)), one day:Quantity (0.685954 (neutral:0.000000))

Earth (0.951664): dbpedia | freebase
Oxygen (0.704133): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Carl Sagan (0.666053): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc | yago
Evolution (0.619474): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Atmosphere (0.612559): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Planet (0.602008): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc
Climate (0.586191): dbpedia | freebase
Biology (0.568564): dbpedia | freebase | opencyc

 Carl Sagan's cosmic connection
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Sagan , Carl (2000-10-23), Carl Sagan's cosmic connection, Cambridge Univ Pr, Retrieved on 2012-01-01
  • Source Material []
  • Folksonomies: science


    01 JAN 2012

     Carl Sagan's Big History Told as a Fable of Our Origins

    Big History as a Fable > Time Sequence > Big History as a Fable Part II
    Parts I and II of his retelling of our origins.


    04 SEP 2011

     Big History

    Memes about the history of the universe and the evolution of life on Earth to build into a timeline.