Beginning with the migration of humans across the planet; to the exponential population growth of humanity; to many of the key events in our history; to the spread of the five most influential religions (which influenced many of the important events in history); and finally, to a look at 650 million years of geologic time; this collection of animated maps helps to demonstrate what has happened on our little planet.

How humans migrated across the globe

It’s difficult to know what happened on Earth thousands of years before anyone started writing anything down. But thanks to the amazing work of anthropologists and paleontologists like those working on National Geographic’s Genographic Project, we can begin to piece together the story of our ancestors. Here’s how early humans spread from East Africa all around the world.

 

Human Population Through Time

It took 200,000 years for our human population to reach 1 billion—and only 200 years to reach 7 billion. But growth has begun slowing, as women have fewer babies on average. When will our global population peak? And how can we minimize our impact on Earth’s resources, even as we approach 11 billion?

 

A History of the World in Maps

This is (almost) the entire history of the world from the rise of civilization to the present day.

 

How the 5 Major World Religions Spread

Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam are five of the biggest religions in the world. Over the last few thousand years, these religious groups have shaped the course of history and had a profound influence on the trajectory of the human race. Through countless conflicts, conquests, missions abroad, and simple word of mouth, these religions spread around the globe and forever molded the huge geographic regions in their paths.

 

650 Million Years of Geologic Time in 2 Minutes

What did the Earth look like 400 million years ago… and how might it look 250 million years from now?

 

And after watching all of that, remember this:

carl-sagan-pale-blue-dot-quote
Carl Sagan, from a lecture delivered at Cornell University