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LET'S EXPLORE Prehistoric life

How did life begin?

Formation of the EarthFormation of the EarthAlong with all the other planets of the Solar System, the Earth was formed about 4.6 billion years ago. In its early years, it had no water or life. It was just a ball of barren rock. Meteorites (large boulders), rained down from space, punching large craters out of the ground. Life probably arose in the Earth's oceans about 3800 million years ago.



The young Earth's changing landscapeThe young Earth's changing landscape

Formation of the Earth

The Solar System began life as billions of small rocks whirling round a dense ball of hot gas: what would become the Sun. Over millions of years, the rock fragments gradually "snowballed” into boulders and then into large, rocky globes. Scientists call them planetesimals. One of them became the Earth.

Young Earth

The longest storm the Earth has ever known took place in the early years of its formation. Water poured from the sky for many millions of years until the basins in the land filled up, becoming the great oceans.

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