Imagining the entire history of the earth as a 24-hour day starting some 4.5 billion years ago, we find the first life forms appear in the oceans at about 4:00am, single cells with nuclei appear at 2:00pm and algae appear after 7:00pm. Marine life forms at 9:00 pm. Dinosaurs appear just before 11:00pm, and 20 minutes before midnight, about 150 million years ago, the birds take to the skies. Dinosaurs go extinct at 2 minutes before midnight on our clock, and finally about 30 seconds before midnight, hominids appear. And it is only in the last few seconds that modern humans appear some 200,000 years ago. Civilization comes practically at the stroke of midnight some 20,000 years ago!

Horizons is produced by Bibliotheca Alexandrina, and featured on ACMi with permission from Dr. Ismail Serageldin.