December 31st, at 9:36 pm, on the Cosmic Calendar: Australopithecus appears, one of the most well-known of our pre-human ancestors. You’ve probably heard of Lucy — she was an Australopithecus afarensis and metaphorical mother to us all, that lived between two and four million years ago.
Here we are in the final hours of the cosmic year, and still no human beings yet. And that is how mind blowingly long the 13.75 billion year history of the universe is!
You may remember Cosmos, the 1980 PBS series by Carl Sagan. Maybe you also recall Sagan’s “Cosmic Calendar” from the series, where in order to put the immensely vast history of the universe into a comprehensible scale, he mapped it onto a calendar year. In other words, if the entire history of the universe were one year, with the big bang in the first second of midnight on January first, and the present day on the last second of December 31st, New Year’s Eve. A project of mine this year has been to note the major events in the Cosmic Calendar, on the real calendar, on this blog!