At this time, Earth was mostly underwater and the atmosphere was a poisonous sulphuric mist, high in carbon dioxide and sulphur. Worms thrived in the Precambrian and grew to large sizes. (Episode 2.2) The Precambrian ended 542 million years ago with the start of the Cambrian period.
The Ordovician period extended from 485.4 to 443.4 million years ago. At this time, the atmosphere was high in carbon dioxide but had low levels of oxygen, and the land was largely desert. (Episode 2.5)
The Silurian extended from 443.4 to 416 million years ago. At this time, the land was still mostly desert, and the atmosphere remained high in CO2 but low in oxygen levels. Life was mainly underwater, although some plant life was evolving on land near water, and some large invertebrates had taken to land. (Episode 2.5)
The Devonian extended from 416 to 359.2 million years ago. During this time, giant predatory fish ruled the oceans.
The Carboniferous extended from 359.2 to 299 million years ago. During this time, much of Earth's land was swamp and rainforest, and amphibians and giant insects were common. Reptiles also evolved in the Carboniferous.
The Permian extended from 299 to 251 million years ago. During this time, reptiles, most of which were synapsids, ruled the land and the weather was extreme (very cold winters and extremely hot summers).
The Triassic extended from 251 to 199.6 million years ago. Both the start and end of this time period were marked by major extinction events. During this time period, land was mostly ruled by large, armoured creatures, against which some smaller creatures evolved to work together in numbers. (Clean Up on Aisle Three (New World Episode 1.6))
The Jurassic extended from 251 to 145.4 million years ago. During this time, the land was dominated by dinosaurs, and marine reptiles inhabited the sea.
The Cretaceous extended from 145.5 to 65.5 million years ago, and marked the end of the dinosaurs. During this time, reptiles were the dominant group, and dinosaurs ruled the land while other creatures inhabited the seas and the skies. At the end of the Cretaceous, a meteor impact triggered the K-T Mass Extinction which wiped out much animal and plant life including the dinosaurs.
The Paleocene immediately followed the K-T Mass Extinction and extended from 65.5 to 56 million years ago.
The Eocene extended from 56 to 34 million years ago. It started with the evolution of the first modern mammals and ended with a major extinction event.
The Oligocene extended from 33.9 to 23.03 million years ago. During this time, modern mammalian life was sparse.
The Miocene extended from 23.03 to 5.33 million years ago, and during this time plant and animal life was relatively modern.
The Pleistocene extended from 1.806 to 0.126 million years ago. During this time, there were numerous severe ice ages, and humans and neanderthals evolved from hominids.
The Holocene started 11.55 thousand years ago and is the present epoch. During this time, humanity rapidly advanced into the most intelligent lifeforms on Earth and became the dominant species. Several other species such as the Dodos also became extinct as a result of their activities, (Episode 1.4) and humanity used other creatures such as dogs and cattle for their own needs. Some of humanity's mythology was also influenced by creatures which crossed through Anomalies into the Holocene from other time periods. (Shadow of the Jaguar, Episode 3.1, Sisiutl (New World Episode 1.2))
Throughout the early 21st Century, small teams of humans began to discover the Anomalies; as a result, Anomaly-investigating teams and organisations were formed to combat the Anomalies and the threat posed by creatures which came through them. These included an Anomaly-investigating branch of the Home Office - which was later moved to the Anomaly Research Centre - in the United Kingdom, led by Nick Cutter's team; and Cross Photonics' Special Projects Group in Canada, led by Evan Cross.
The future has been changed and altered an uncertain number of times by interference in the past and present via the Anomalies. Little is known about the current future, but the second Matt Anderson's appearance would suggest it to be bleak, (Episode 5.6) and Colonel Henderson Hall implied that the future he saw was very unpleasant due to damage to Earth's environment caused by humanity's actions. (The Inquisition (New World Episode 1.11))
There have been several different versions of the future, although it is difficult to tell which ones are the same and different future time zones, and which future time periods are part of which future timeline.
- It was once speculated by Helen Cutter that there was a future where humanity was extinct and creatures such as the Future Predator were the dominant species. (Episode 1.6)
- The ARC and Helen Cutter at one point discovered a future in which the ARC and/or Christine Johnson at some point apparently created Future Predators which turned on and wiped out humanity. (Episode 3.1, 3.3, 3.8, 3.9, 3.10)
- Matt and Gideon Anderson came from a future in which New Dawn had reduced the surface of the Earth to a barren, hostile wasteland in 2011. The timeline this future existed in was apparently negated by Matt's actions in the present. (Episode 4.7, Series 5)
In the Artifact's holographic Anomaly map, it was believed by Connor Temple and Sarah Page that the line in the hologram represented the time continuum, and the points where the line crossed itself represented the points where two time periods were linked by an Anomaly. (Episode 3.6, 3.10)
Altering the timelineEdit
It is known that interference in the past can sometimes alter the timeline in unspecified ways; including, but not limited to, creatures from the past disappearing from their time periods through the Anomalies, or creatures being introduced into a different past time period to the one they came from. Connor Temple compared the impact on the timeline of creatures disappearing from the past through the Anomalies to threads in a piece of clothing being pulled; pulling some would have virtually no effect, but pulling others would cause a portion of time to unravel. (The New World (New World Episode 1.1), The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13))
It appears that a person that the change erases may sometimes suffer some warnings shortly before the change occurs; for example, Claudia Brown, shortly before she was erased from time, at one point saw her reflection as an Anomaly. (Episode 1.6, 2.1)
It is known that when the timeline changes, anyone or anything that is in a point in time before the point where the timeline changes or at the time zone of the change will be unaffected by the change in time. Nick and Helen Cutter both remembered the original timeline after it was changed while they were in the Permian; (Episode 1.6 onwards) the Anomaly Opening Device that Helen left in the Cretaceous still existed after New Dawn had presumably negated the future it came from; (Episode 4.1) Patrick Quinn still spent years in the home of the Camouflage Beasts after the future that time period existed in was presumably negated by New Dawn; (Episode 4.7) Matt Anderson still existed in the present after his actions apparently negated the future he came from; (Episode 5.6) and the alternate future version of Mac Rendell and the consequences of his presence in 2006 initially remained in the past and present after Evan Cross stopped Mac's nineteen-year-old self from becoming the alternate Mac. (Truth (New World Episode 1.8), Breakthrough (New World Episode 1.9))
Although a creature, person or object in the past (and the consequences of their presence there) will initially still exist in the prime timeline even if the future they come from is erased, it is apparent that if after the said being's timeline is erased one crosses to the point in time where the object or being crossed to there, it will be a version of that time in which the being/object from the now-negated future did not cross as their timeline has been erased, and this new version of events in the said time period will presumably replace the previous version. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13))
Changes in the timelineEdit
- After Nick and Helen Cutter unknowingly left two baby Future Predators in the Permian on a mission there, a new timeline was created (most likely due to the Predators' presence in the past). It was virtually identical to the original timeline, except Claudia Brown was replaced with Jenny Lewis, Oliver Leek took Claudia's place in the Anomaly operation, and the Anomaly branch of the Home Office at some point before the second Permian mission moved to the Anomaly Research Centre. (Episode 1.6, Series 2)
- The ARC and Helen Cutter at one point discovered a future in which the ARC had created Future Predators which had turned on humanity and apparently hunted them to extinction, (Series 3) and following Helen's death, an alternate future in which New Dawn had reduced the Earth to a sterile, barren wasteland was discovered. (Episode 4.7, Series 5)
- Originally, the Spring-Heeled Jack Raptor remained in the Victorian age and caused a total of at least twelve deaths, and Emily Merchant was successfully committed by Henry to Bedlam Asylum in 1868. (Episode 5.2, 5.3) When Matt Anderson travelled to 1868 London, he managed to save Emily from being incarcerated, and took her and the Raptor back to the present with him. (Episode 5.3)
- After he came to the present, Matt Anderson stopped New Dawn from destroying the Earth's surface, apparently changing the future and negating the timeline in which New Dawn destroyed life on Earth. (Episode 5.6)
- In the initial timeline, Mac Rendell joined the British Army and became a soldier for the ARC. After meeting Mac's future self, Evan Cross changed Mac's history by recruiting Mac's nineteen-year-old self as a Cross Photonics employee. (Truth (New World Episode 1.8))
- Initially, the future version of Mac Rendell which travelled to 2006 and saved Evan Cross from the Albertosaurus incursion wore the uniform of the Anomaly Research Centre; but after the alternate, ARC Mac's timeline was negated by Evan's later actions, the Mac of the new timeline from 2012 replaced the ARC Mac in the 2006 Albertosaurus incursion (with the new Mac wearing the Canadian Army's uniform instead of the ARC's). (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13))
- After Evan Cross killed the Albertosaurus responsible for Mac Rendell's and Brooke Cross' deaths, when the Anomalies in a Cretaceous Spaghetti Junction then all began to close, it was believed that this was because something in the timeline had changed. (The Sound of Thunder: Part 2 (New World Episode 1.13))