Our Planet

If Earth’s life time was the distance from Los Angeles to New York City


Our old planet, the Earth is 4.54 billion years old. In fact, the human mind can no longer make any sense of the large numbers like that. Numbers like 1, 2, 14, 20, 50 are all quantities that we encounter quite frequently in our daily lives. And out brain evolved to conceptualize numbers like that: our ancestors saw two lions; they hunted five deer in one hunting party, the population of their tribe was 20, etc… But when the numbers are getting big, i.e. 1,000; 10,000… the problem begins: these numbers become increasingly difficult to conceptualize. Now what happens when we try to conceptualize quantities like billions, like the Earth’s age? We can’t actually rationalize the immensity of such a big number. Because we haven’t a model of 4.54 billion that’s been compressed into something recognizable to the human mind.
To put this number into a perspective, Alex Kuzoian of Business insider prepared a beautiful video: you can watch Earth’s life span as the distance from Los Angeles to New York City. Along the trip we see the formation of our Moon, the beginning of the life, the evolving of the multi-cellular organisms, and the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. Probably the most interesting part is that modern humans only evolved 175 meters (570 feet) from the finishing line of this journey. And the big jump to the first multi-cellular organisms.