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The primordial sea

When was the first time life began to predate on each other?

In the early oceans billions of years ago organisms lived peacefully side by side. Today, there are predators among us - when and how did this change happen? New research indicates that our single-celled ancestors began to feed on each other almost a billion years earlier than previously thought.

Af Birgitte Svennevig, , 14-12-2022

Meet the researcher

Donald E. Canfield is a professor at the Department of Biology. He is interested in which biological, chemical and geological conditions allowed life to rise on Earth. His research is supported by the Villum Foundation.


Finding the hidden clues in rocks

Learn more about the methods behind research into the development of life on Earth

Evolution of life

  • 3.8 billion years ago

    First life on Earth, primitive prokaryote cells.

  • 3.2 billion years ago

    Photosynthesis evolved, but without oxygen production.

  • 2.7-2.5 billion years ago

    Oxygen-producing cyanobacteria evolved.

  • 1.7-2.0 billion years ago

    The first eukaryotes evolved (unicellular organisms with a cell nuclei). Some of these would have been “predators” feeding on other organisms. These are the ancestors of all higher life forms, living on Earth today.

  • 1.6-1.7 billion years ago

    Algal photosynthesis evolved.

  • 600-700 million years ago

    The first animals evolved.

  • 540-530: million years ago

    The Cambrian Explosion. Many new animals; jellyfish, arachnids, worms, etc.

  • 520 million years ago

    Fish evolved.

  • 230 million years ago

    Reptiles and dinosaurs.

  • 130 million years ago

    Flowers and bees.

  • 55 million years ago


  • 200.000 years ago

    Homo Sapiens.

Redaktionen afsluttet: 14.12.2022