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CONTENTS of entire timeline

CONTENTS of 59,999,999 BC- 51,000 BC Large land and aquatic mammals appear; many kinds of primates appear (almost as many go extinct); an island continent finally disappears for good; the Mediterranean valley turns into the Mediterranean Sea; human beings emerge, develop housing, clothes, lamps, and drugs, breed dogs, use horses; Mars dies (or goes dormant)

This page last updated on or about 10-31-05
a - j r m o o n e y h a m . c o m - o r i g i n a l


Approximately 55,500,000 BC: Huge amounts of methane are added to the atmosphere, setting off a period of extensive global warming

This global warming drives much deep sea life into extinction. This LPTM (latest Paleocene thermal maximum) lasts 10,000-20,000 years. Much new mammalian life appears around this time, including the predecessors to primates.

Ironically perhaps, this warming was itself triggered by a much more subtle long term warm up (over 4.5 million years). Now, that previous slow rise in temperature has apparently pushed the Earth past some critical point, thereby initiating a large release of gas (methane and carbon dioxide) from worldwide methane clathrates deposits in the sea floor.

Such gases are called 'greenhouse gases' because they help insulate the Earth from space and make it heat up.

-- Evidence for historic global warming published in Science, EurekAlert! ["http://www.eurekalert.org/"], University of California, Santa Barbara, 18 NOVEMBER 1999, Contact: Gail Brown, gbrown@instadv.ucsb.edu, 805-893-7220

Circa late 1999 AD, the Earth's hidden deposits of marine gas hydrates will be estimated at 14,000 gigatons.

-- Geologists pinpoint source of major global warming event more than 55 million years ago, National Science Foundation /EurekAlert! ["http://www.eurekalert.org/"], 19 NOVEMBER 1999, Contact: Cheryl Dybas cdybas@nsf.gov 703-306-1070

During the LPTM sea temperatures rise between 7 and 14 degrees Fahrenheit in just one thousand years.

-- Ocean Burp Caused Global Warming, Associated Press/Discovery Online News Brief, http://www.discovery.com/, found on or about 11-19-99

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