I was reading a rather famous attack on the notion of transit, and wanted to set the record straight on a couple of things about transit.
I was puffing my bike up another hill last weekend when I unhelpfully began to think about Europe’s Wars of Religion.
Starting after the reformation, this brutal episode in France’s history was a thirty year bloodbath* that gave ideological oomph to their ordinary wars of greed, rape, and plunder. Now they could do all those things to each other in the name of god, which was a perfect combination for your average European mercenary or conscript. The royalty of various provinces laid siege to each other over 30 years to prove whose god would reign over the land: A Christian god or a Christian god. They did this with wealth derived from land rent and soldiers conscripted from the same land. And a few knights from their personal courts. The flew against each other in a time when flags didn’t mean anything nationally, but meant a lot militarily.
The way the French, and the Europeans treated each other was not far removed from the way they treated the Americans upon meeting them around the same time. Might did in fact make right, even after the renaissance**
The violent history of Europe over religious matters continued before and after the Wars of Religion, culminating (?) in the mother of all pogroms in Germany in the 1940s. The mechanized and bureaucratic slaughter of millions for ideological and ethnic transgressions finally got the world’s attention, and bureaucratic and psychological mechanisms were installed to yoke the Germans to a legacy of shame. That they do not hold a monopoly on evil is evident from the still proud Turkish treatment of Armenians, the Cambodian treatment of its rich and educated, and the Rwandan treatment of the Tutsi by the Hutu.
France, in a repeat performance of ideological slaughter, reasoned their way into another bloodbath with their birth of democracy. Since aristocracy was dead, it stood to reason that all aristocrats and those holding vaguely aristocratic views should be dead as well. This was a prelude to Kampuchea, in some ways. This Reign of Terror was at the dawn of a terrible century for many, if you happened to live in a victim state of one of the European nations. Europe spent most of the next 200 years proving to the rest of the world just how hollow any effete calls of equality or the healing powers of capitalism were. Those were amenities for Europeans. Most of the residents, workers, and governments of Africa, Asia, and South America were subject to supplying the good life for European, nascent American, and local royal palettes.
All of these slaughters were done with the power of states over their people. Without the ability to tax, arrest, and execute, these genocides would not have gone past the rampage of a few violent crackpots. With the exception of the Rwandan and Turkish genocides, all were stopped by military means by neighboring countries after they had gone on too long. The Turkish and Rwandan genocides did not go on that long, and may have invited an invasion otherwise.
There are other, non-state movements that are equally violent that both invite confrontation but know that they will lose it in a typical show of arms. The states these revolutionary movements attempt to overthrow are too powerful, armed, and ruthless to simply engage in mere combat with. So the wise insurgent must be more cunning. With traps, disguises, and cover. This won us our independence in 1781, it won the Vietnamese theirs in 1975, and it is currently being used by the Islamic State to win theirs, for whatever it is worth.
When you attack people whose reason for coming together is your past attacks against them, you only strengthen their resolve to oppose you.. If a state does this, the will of the people can be split from the will of the state, crippling their ability to wage war. If a popular movement, like Daesh, or the Viet Cong does this, the will of those people need to be split from the will of their movement. They need to be offered a better alternative.
I laid out all that history in the beginning of this article to indicate the journey of ideological war and its horrors. Those fighting ideological wars never think they are in the wrong. If their enemy’s attack only reinforce their ideology, they will grow in appeal and recruitment.
We created Daesh by removing the civil government of Iraq in 2003-2006. While they first fled to Al-Qaeda in Iraq, their opposition to Iraq itself blossomed as we installed an overtly anti-Sunni government under our Shi’ite Nouri al-Maliki. We figured Hosni Mubarak had been pretty good for us in Egypt, so why not try the same sort of government in Iraq? All Daesh needed to do to recruit from the Sunnis of Northern Iraq was to point out how badly they had been treated since 2007.
Daesh got the military expertise of Iraq by 2007, and got our equipment that we had sold to Iraq by 2014.
Maybe we need to reconsider this as a military engagement.
Maybe the war of terror is not about attrition and atrocities, even though the rapes, executions and drone strikes are surely atrocious. Maybe the war of terror is really about ideology. Not just in a motivating way, but in a competitive way.
It is up to us to make the case that western capitalism, liberalism, or culture has something better than violent Jihad for the Daesh. They already need money to govern their territories. They already loot places like Palmyra for cash to afford food and weapons. What else appeals to them about the west? The west has done much to them before and since 2001. Would their will to fight vanish if the west did things for them instead?
The offer of capitalism is that we all have the right to make money, and be judged on its merits alone. The offer of Islam, or any other religion, is that we are all equal in the eyes of God, and can only be judged by her. This is not a trivial difference, but the march of civilization is people adapting their religious demands to the civilities of trade. Just read Deuteronomy some time.
I’ve been thinking about this question as I prepare to bifurcate this blog into transportation and sustainability topics. You might have noticed a tendency to stray from the quantitative to the qualitative, and from transportation to sustainability, history, and even economics. This is all within the original scope of sustainable transportation, but my signal to noise ratio has been slipping.
Which brings me to the question of the identity of City. Permanent concentrations of people have been around longer than the oldest documented Jericho, in Palestine (6,500 kya). They are an artifact of people congregating to achieve trade in goods, effort, or protection collectively. This could only be done after the business of staying alive through foraging, and only after the business of growing surplus food had been mastered. Since agriculture made open land valuable, towns were one way to keep the people out of their own way. Another way was actually living in the fields, but this required more effort to keep all the land claims in order.
The town, and later the city, was an artifact of plenty in a time of walking, horses, ships, trains, and roads. Many of the most successful cities were there to trade goods between one transportation mode and another. Rather than just being the agricultural trade hub a day’s walk from the next town, the cities grew with their ports, and did the business of unloading ships and trading their goods between shippers and customers in their respective nations*.
The land at the center or nearest the port of these cites became the most valuable, because the most money changed hands there. Much of that trade was industrial or noxious, which set up a natural distribution of wealth between those upwind and those downwind. All this had to be within walking distance until late 1800s, even if the first transit was developed two centuries earlier (1662) in Paris**.
Cities grew as concentrations of commerce. Which remained concentrated so long as commerce was a documentary process. With the rise of telegraphy, telephony, and the internet, this was no longer necessary. Companies in manufacturing and later banking moved out of the city as soon as they could. Manufacturing moved first, because of a simple truth. Density at the city center made manufacturing difficult. A multistory factory wastes huge amounts of energy moving materials and work between floors. Even if their process is lucky enough to use gravity feed, the materials still have to be hoisted or pumped to the top of the building to keep the process flowing. Better to move to the countryside, where everything can be arranged on one flat shop floor.
This was not possible until transportation got good enough to haul goods around the country in sufficient quantities. When everything was moved by horse cart over dirt roads, there was a real compelling case to be made for keeping things in town, or just moving it once and leaving it there on the farm. Once Canals (-600 in Mideast, -300 in Asia, 1300 in Europe, 1800 in Americas) and Rail lines (1830) made moving stuff the point of transportation, there was an incentive to move more, not less stuff. Moving factories out of town was as simple and expensive and providing a high-capacity transportation link to global markets and local labor.
Businesses did not get big without cities. In Europe, the model was hierarchical, religious, and aristocratic. Most Western Europeans were serfs; bonded labor, until the 1400s, but many Eastern Europeans and Asians remained serfs until the 20th century. This concentrated power in a firm pyramid from serf to sovereign, with agriculture the currency. Many never saw or needed a coin, they belonged to the land and their liege, and this was enough. They were paid in safety and enough food. Coins, and commerce were near the churches and the rulers, in cities. The factory arose as a mirror of the farm, with many hands making light work of dull repetitive task, for cash this time, not just food. Factories were a novel enough concept in 1776 that Adam Smith describe them at length to readers of his already lengthy work.
A factory, or any large business, is an exercise in marrying labor, materials, and machines on unprecedented scales. This was formerly impossible, because there wasn’t enough labor to do the work. The first factories were surrounded by homes of their workers, and they were always located near their materials or a port. Beaver Pelts, Cow Hides, Timber, or Steel are heavy, and it’s best to pick them up only when necessary.
With improving transportation by rail and later truck, the location of the factory was not longer wedded to its heavy feedstock. With improvement in personal transportation, by rail, transit, bicycle, and later traffic, workers no longer needed to live near their factories. With the spread of services and administration, and the outsourcing of manufacturing to poorer parts of the nation and eventually the world, there was no longer a need for large businesses to be near freight lines at all. All they needed was sufficient infrastructure for their workers to reach work.
The only thing that remains of the original factory is shift work, on the idea that teams who know each other work better than these who only meet each other occasionally. This is a legacy of farm life, when the sun, soil, and seasons dictated the schedule, intensity, and aim of work. Then as now, the penalty for not working was starvation. The currency then was labor, the currency today is cash.
You can always tell the age of a place within a century by the network of its streets. This reflects an evolution of transportation technology. The web of walking paths of Midaeval cities gave way to blocks in the 1800s. Blocks were partially there to facilitate real estate transaction in cities growing too fast to survey every deal, and partially to improve safer as wagons and later transit became faster, larger and heavier. It is social to run into a walker in the city, disastrous tot do it in a wagon or a car. By 1875, “faster” was still 6 MPH, and by 1905 had been doubled to 12 MPH with improvements in paving and America’s rising car manufactory. You can get to 12 MPH idling your engine in drive with today’s cars. As vehicles became faster, blocks became longer, and could fit larger buildings upon them. Or parking, which motorized traffic demanded by the 1910s as a matter of course.
The rise of motorized traffic has denatured the formerly tight knit fabric of the city. That is not a value judgement, but a statement of fact. Traffic and the information economy offer the option to locate any sort of business within driving distance of worker and shipping distance of customers. They offer the option to get to any sort of job or shopping from any sort of neighborhood, as long as it is a drivable one. The commute into work, first a walk to the fields, then the factory, and then a train or bus ride into downtown, has become a web of different origins and destinations. The suburb-suburb commute is now the largest commute for most American cites, supplanting the suburb-city commute since the 1960s. My native Atlanta switched before I was born, and, notably, before MARTA’s suburb-city heavy-rail network was built.
I’ve kept the toes of this story in the 19th century because those are the roots of the modern city. For our whole lives, , and the levies out our great grandparents, the city was a unique, gigantic, and bustling place. I work in a field that values its form and function inherently. That doesn’t save me from the fact that the city is an artifact of technology. If the technology changes, the city will change. It is worth guessing at what the changes will be, and how they will change, and maybe even destroy, the city.
* There were towns in the US before the European invasion. The largest, Cahokia, along the Mississippi, was maintained for and by the farming of Corn, which had been cultivated in Mexico 4 kya and traded through the desert southwest 3 kya. Other American towns on the east coast coalesced for protection from neighbors, better hunting, or fire management. When your food depends on burning hillsides to allow you and your game to forage in understory bushes, your location in the landscape is fixed.
** Paris transit was initially protection for the upper classes from the lwer classes of Parisian street life. Five sous was about a dollar in today’s currency. Nobody from the dregs of Parisian society would ever use that much cash for mere transportation.
This will be the last post reflecting on our recent trip to England. Fitting, as it is about the end of the world.
On our hot walk from the room to the station in Cambridge, my wife suggested we stop off at the Scott Museum of Polar Exploration. So like her, to actually look things up to know what is in town. WE took the museum in shifts, to guard our luggage. I didn’t regret it, as they had a lot of amazing artifacts and stories to tell about the former folly of exploring the world’s end. As of the 1800s, this was deadly business. Whole crews and ships were lost in the quest to reach the North and South Poles. Everything we know about protection for space exploration and endurance was learned in places like this.
One exhibit that struck me was what they traded to the I hit for help along the way to the North Pole. Not money, not gold, not even canned food, but tools. Currency had no meaning to cultures based on family and friend associations and commitments. But useful things were inherently valuable. I read* that the mania for steel tools in the Amazon rain forest was more intense than the western search for gold in its time. Try cutting a vine or a tree with a stone, bone, or even charcoal tool, and the utility of steel is immediately apparent.
The whole trip was about the portability and ease of money, because we had credit cards. I held a UK bill once, and had perhaps 50 pence in my pocket at any time. Everyplace we visited accepted credit cards, because the value of us spending money there was worth more than the nominal charge by the credit card companies. I’m sure our bill is astronomical, but we did not care nearly as much as we would have it we have to use cash pound-by-pound
I’m reading a great book about the history of Money, by Felix Martin. Money is a specific token of trust and obligation, but it must be mutually understood by all to work. In cultures without money, that trust is reputation and shared obligation. Those things still exist, but money makes the truncation impersonal and fungible. I can get money from people I’ll never meet and give it to people I just met, and we will receive each other warmly. We have money, after all.
The march of civilization with money has been the erosion of personal reputation and fixed groups to the flexible and open transaction of “tokens of respect”. This is at once anarchic and restrictive. Anarchic because money is more powerful than leaders. Daniel Radcliffe had more money than the Royal family at one point in the Harry Potter film series. Restrictive because its judgment is total. A virtuous person is worthless unless they can afford to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table. When we traded in reputation only, we were taken care of as part of the group, but we knew our place in the group. Money breaks all that down. We are free to amass as much as we’d like and others will let us, but there is no floor to fall upon. Without money, we are nothing.
* Routes of Man, Ted Conover, I believe
This is a map I found of California c. 1895.
120 years ago, the automobile was an exotic curiosity, either steam locomotive on wheels or, worse, a miniature, silent battery powered street car on wheels. The y were still rare, expensive, and produced one at a time by tinkerers who should scarcely produce more than five cars a year. Meanwhile, bicycles had recently assumed their modern form of two equal sized, rubber tired, spring-spoked wheels with a chain drive. All of those things were about as old as smart phones are today.
This is the sort of road network that was being built for them in the first era of good roads.
Just 2 million years after diverging from the gibbons (or about 400,000 generations) Apes diverged from the Orangutan (0.014 bya). In this case, the Orangutans made a quicker journey from Africa back to Asia, 31 million years after the primates left (0.04 bya) to find a richer life in Africa. Orangutans now struggle to find habitat in the expanding plantation landscapes of Asia. One of the major threats to Orangutans survival is the clearing of land for palm oil plantations. Primates and apes had begin to spread around by now, with a possible human uncle or ancestor (0.013 bya) found as far afield as Spain, which was, at the time, attached to Africa. This was the critical period where human ancestors diverge from modern apes (0.01 bya) and Chimpanzees (0.08 bya). The first bipedal primate, Sahelanthropus tchadensis, was located in Chad, which as a mixture of forests and open savannah at the time (0.007 bya). Though we only have fossil skulls for this species, we can tell by the location of the spinal cord entry that S. Tchadensis stood upright, not on all fours.
It was also in this period that we evolved our second economic adaptation, the evolution of laughter (0.01 bya). The first was the evolution of the smile, developing from a grimace 0.03 bya. At least that’s what the comparative cladistics tells me.
Something else to mention and keep track of at this point is the evolution of our modern vegetables. Brassica, our most diverse, if not most plentiful, vegetable crop diversified for a second time in this period (0.012 bya). They had first diversified 124 million years ago and 47 million years ago, but this final diversification would bring them to their modern form of broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, and collard greens, to name <a few.
The potato and tomato split within the nightshade family in the Americas 0.008 bya, setting the stage for their later use by humans. This was of course unlikely use, as the majority of the nightshade family, including the bodies of the tomato and potato plants, are deadly poisonous to eat. I was remiss in my treatment of mulberries and figs, which began their lines almost 30 million years before (0.04 bya). Every crop species has its history, my ability to find those histories is of course limited.
The climate in this 7 million year period began to dry out by 0.01 bya and cool down from the hot maximum 0.015 bya. By 0.012 bya, the last vegetation had disappeared from Antarctica, covered in glaciers.
The most important thing that happened in this period was the closing of the Central American isthmus 0.007 bya. This connection would allow the well developed carnivores of the northern continent to overcome the previously marsupial populations of South America. When South America separated from Africa (0.1 bya) Marsupials and placental (live birth) mammals had only just diverged, and mammals were still 7 million years (0.093 bya) from diverging into the precursors to primates, carnivores, ungulates and the like. More on that with the next post.
Now 511/512ths through the history of life.
Just after the “Eocene-Oligocene” extinction event 0.034 bya, post dinosaur life reached its most baroque. The largest walking mammal ever, 16′ tall and 24′ long* Paraceratherium (0.03 bya), related to the modern rhinoceros, roamed widely between forests and steppes of Eurasia. On the other side of the world, the five-ton ground sloth Megatherium evolved among the ancestors of modern tree sloths in South America 0.03 bya. The largest bird ever, Pelagornis, patrolled the east coast of the United States for fish 0.025 bya, with a wingspan of about 20 feet. None of these giants ever had contact with each other, as the continents were still working their way to their modern configuration
0.03 bya, the Bering Strait land bridge opened for the first time, as the northern tips of North America and Asia approached each other. 0.022 bya, India collided with Asia, 100 million years since it separated from Antarctica. This collision formed the Himalayas, just as the collision between Europe and Asia formed the Ural Mountains 0.03 bya. Africa merged with Asia less catastrophically, unlike flood basalts, huge volcanic events that covered hundreds of square miles of land in lava during tectonic events. One of these covered the Pacific Northwest 0.016 bya.
Many of the species we know today evolved form their ancestors during this period, including the deer in Asia, from ungulates (0.025 bya), and the bear (0.022 bya) in North America, from carnivores. In South America, the Anteater first diverged (0.02 bya) from the sloths and armadillos to exploit a plentiful resource that has been around for 60 million years. Cattle, like Buffalo, Oxen, and Cows, evolved from ungulates 0.02 bya and Goats began to evolve from cattle 0.018 bya in Africa. Also in Africa, the first hyenas, giraffes, and anteaters evolved 0.02 bya , from cats, ungulates, and In the end of this period, Pachyderms, the ancestor of mastodons, mammoths, and elephants evolved 0.015 bya.
Back in Africa, the first tailless apes evolved from monkeys 0.025 bya. This was after we had evolved the smile as an indication of friendliness, from unfriendly circumstances (0.03 bya). We evolved blood types 0.02 bya . After Africa attached to Asia, apes began to spread to Asia, and hominid apes, our ancestors, diverged from plains-dwelling Gibbons (0.015 bya), moving into the forests of central Africa.
Now 255/256s the way through history.
As the contents continued to drift catastrophically toward throe current configuration, many of the animals we know and eat today were evolving into their modern forms. Id like to start identifying where in particular these actually evolved, based on where the oldest fossils have been found. There’s no way of telling where the first sponge formed, or where the first millipedes came onto land, because those things don’t leave a strong fossil record, but also because the tectonic plates from those eras are partially sub ducted under other, modern plates. Now that we are in the Eocene, I can begin to describe where things “came” form, at least according to the fossil record.
In this period, the first elephants evolved in Egypt (0.43 bya). Cats (Lions, Tigers, Leopards) (0.042 bya) diverged from carnivores in Africa, and then (Wolves, Coyotes, Foxes) evolved in North America (0.034 bya). Even though North America was detaching from Eurasia at this time, they were connected when Carnivores evolved from Miacids, and there was enough connection for Canines to make their way to Asian and later Africa. Africa was not yet connected to Asia, actually. Proto-Camels, the ancestor of Llamas, Alpacas, Vicunas and Camels, evolved in the area of Colorado and Nevada 0.035 bya. The horse continued its well documented evolution in the Midwest of the United States as of 0.037 bya. The peak in horse diversity was 0.034 bya all while isolated North America was moving away from Europe and towards South America.
It was around this time that some mammals began returning to the seas, something they had not done since the amphibian exodus over 300 million years earlier. Maybe the fishing was too good, but the ancestors to whales, dolphins and porpoises began the move back to the ocean 0.048 bya in Pakistan. The other major class of aquatic mammal, the dugongs and manatees, moved back to the rivers and oceans at about the same time (0.049 bya), starting from the Caribbean. By 0.34 bya, Sirenians and cetaceans (0.045 bya) had achieved their modern form.
A hard to find fossil was soft bodied & fragile winged butterflies and moths*, first found from 0.04 bya. I can’t find the source on where that fossil was found, or if it is considered to the “cradle” of the Lepidopterans.
The Bering Strait land bridge made its fist alternate connection to Asia by 0.03 bya, enabling dogs, among others to migrate to Asia. Antarctica iced over 0.04 bya, and has remained covered in glaciers ever since. South America was still populated by marsupials at this time, like Australia today, isolated in the middle of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
At the same time Antarctica was icing over, early primates like the Lemur were diverging from the tailed monkeys in Asia (0.04 bya). Monkeys dispersed over the whole of Asia, and were ready to disperse to Europe when it joined with Asia 0.03 bya and Africa 0.02 bya. Most impressively, some monkeys made it to the Americas across the Bering Strait and even the Atlantic Ocean, one starving pregnant female at a time**. Old world and new world monkeys diverged as early as 0.04 bya, mixing with, but not supplanting the South American marsupials.
The end of this period, the “Eocene-Oligocene” extinction event (0.034 bya) may have been cause by another meteorite strike, this time leaving a crater on the east coast of the US that we recognize as the arc of the Chesapeake Bay.
Now about 127/128 through the history of life.
*if I recall, what distinguishes a Butterfly from a Moth is its clubbed antennae. I’m pretty sure that didn’t fossilize
** These “waif dispersers remain a mystery, and I’d like to read more about them when I get the time thos summer
After bees, the first ants appeared 0.08 bya. Ants, descended from wasps, took chemical and biological sociality to its extreme. There are solitary bee species, but there are no solitary ants. The 14,000 species of ant now occupy more of the world than we do.
It was in the late Jurassic (0.08 bya) that dinosaur diversity reached its peak. The most elaborate forms of dinosaurs, such as Tyranosaurs, Triceratops, Raptors and Diplodocus., This was still their world. The last tiny ancestor of Mice and Men scurried among the cracks of this dinosaur word 0.075 bya according to genomic evidence.
Everything changed in the second-worst documented mega-extinction in the history of life, (0.066 bya). A meteorite 7 miles across hit the earth near the Yucatan Peninsula, ejecting a cloud of dust from the Chicxulub Crater and debris to keep conditions in winter for years*. The outline of the crater is near the Yucatan peninsula, in southern Mexico. The cold-blooded dinosaurs, who depended on warm ambient heat to keep moving, were not able to withstand years of starvation, and the ratlike mammals feasted. About half of the species on Earth disappeared after this event.
As with every mega-extinction, life blossomed to fill suddenly unoccupied niches. Through evolution of the ecological marketplace, life bloomed by discovering new niches. By 0.065 bya, the common ancestor of primates, bats, and shrews had evolved. By 0.062 bya), Miacids, the ancestors of carnivores, had evolved. By (0.055 bya) proto-rodents had evolved. By 0.054 bya, the first ancestors of cows and deer had evolved. By 0.052 bya, bats had begun flying in the night skies. And by 0.05 bya, the first proto-horse first appeared in the fossil record. The fossil lineage of the horse in the 50 million years since is remarkably detailed and well documented.
The diversification of mammals 50 to 60 million years ago challenged even the “multis”, an early marsupial form that began to decline after 0.056 bya. They were the longest lived mammalian order ever, lasting over 100 million years.
Ptilodus, a Multituberculate survivor of the Cretaceous meteor impact.
Most important to our story as people, however, is the lineage of the primates. The dry nosed and wet nosed primates diverged about 0.56 bya, with the wet nosed primates enduring today as Lemurs, Lorises, and the Aye-Aye. By 0.055 bya, proto-simians had evolved opposing digits, allowing us to pick things up for the first time.
The Cretaceous-Paelogene extinction event was a brief interlude in a very hot period in the Earth’s history. One of the hottest periods in the earth history was 10 million years, and the hot period did not truly end until the Azolla Event (0.049 bya). Azolla was an abundant fern species at the warm arctic that sequestered a great deal of carbon, then sunk to the bottom of the ocean to be buried in sediment**, removing large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. The Azolla Event was the largest carbon sequestration in the history of Earth, and changed our climate from a hot earth to a cooler Earth.
Now a little over 63/64 the way through the history of life.
* It is unknown exactly how many years, or if the meteoric impact was the sole extinction event then.
After the fourth extinction, the largest ever, life blossomed as before with all the spare resources and unoccupied niches left around. Cynodonts, the ancestor to mammals, developed differentiated teeth and moved their brains to the back of the skull (0.251 bya) just as mammals have today. Modern ray-finned fish evolved by 0.225 bya in the oceans , and archosuars diverged in to crocodiles, dinosaurs and pterosaurs (0.220 bya)
At the same time as reptiles were evolving much larger forms, Therapsids, also descended from reptiles, were developing things like warm bloodedness, and milk glands, 0.22 bya. This was in the time of the Gymnosperms, who had taken over from the club moss, horsetail, and fern forests that had ruled for over a hundred million years, since 0.38 bya.
The dog-sized amphibian, Euyrops, Texas, 0.295 bya.
After the fourth major extinction event (0.251 bya), reptiles got more specialized in form, and cynodonts, proto-mammals (0.251 bya, got even smarter, with more of their brains devoted to the ability to smell. This helped scavenging for crumbs between the toes of evolving thunder-lizards. By 0.195 bya, the modern mammalian jaw and inner ear had formed in a subsequent proto-mammal, Hadrocodium, allowing better hearing and eating. Proto-birds (0.23 bya diverged from Dinosaurs at just about the same time they diverged from crocodiles and pterosaurs.Dinosaurs kept developing in size, diversity, and specialization for the over 160 million years.
By the way, all this had been occurring on one land mass, Pangea, that had been in place since 0.36 bya, allowing and forcing these species to develop on and with nearly continuous access to each other. By 0.21 bya, Pangaea broke up, into two land masses, Laurentia and Gondwana, beginning the formation of the continents that hosted the entirety of human history. Breaking up the continents accelerated the rates of divergence and specialization in the species, as different forms were freed from competition with each other.
While birds developed feathers (0.19 bya), from their reptilian scales, Hadrocodium developed hair (0.164 bya) from its scales to aid in the warm bloodedness it had for the last 56 million years. These first mammals resembled the platypus, with reptilian and mammalian features, particularly egg-laying. It was not until 44 million years later that marsupials and placentals diverged (0.120 bya).
By 0.15 bya, Laurasia and Gondwana break up and begin to form the continents we recognize today, in the same era as the first angiosperms. Angiosperms, like mammals, were small and opportunistic species with more investment in their youth. In the case of mammals, they were able to offer their children milk (a href=”http://paleontology.wikia.com/wiki/Timeline_of_evolution”>0.22 bya). In the case of angiosperms, they offered erred their sends fruit. This allowed them to propagate quickly to new sites, an important asset in a time when the antics of dinosaurs could devastate a place in shirt order. By 0.13 bya, Angiosperms had developed flowers elaborate enough to attract insects to carry pollen for them to suitable mates, the beginning of a famous and important relationship in nature. By 0.1 bya, the first bees evolved in this very role.
Now a little over 31/32 the way though the history of life.