The planet Earth is the setting of Primeval, and home to Humanity and every single creature seen in the show. It has various diverse locations, ranging from sweltering deserts to polar icecaps, thick jungle to open grassland, and a complex water cycle. Earth has one natural satellite. Its history has been affected by the anomalies, which have appeared throughout time.
- See also: Timeline
Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago from a mass of dust and rocks orbiting the young Sun, at the start of the Precambrian supereon. Connor Temple theorised that all life on Earth was descended from organisms that came across space. (Episode 1.1) During the Precambrian, Earth was mostly underwater, and the atmosphere was high in sulphur and carbon dioxide and contained a sulphuric, mist-like gas. Fog Worms thrived in Precambrian Earth and grew to large sizes. (Episode 2.2)
After the Precambrian was the Phanerozoic eon, stretching from 542 million years ago to now. Starting with the Palaeozoic era, its first period was the Cambrian, in which priapulid worms grew to much bigger size than today, and they were one of the dominant predators. At around 490 million years ago, the Cambrian-Ordovician extinction event started the Ordovician period, which lasted until 444 million years ago; at this point there was absolutely no life on land, not even plants. The Silurian period began, but little life had made it of of the water, save for a few certain invertebrates and plants that had evolved and taken to the desert-like land. The atmosphere was high in carbon dioxide and had very low levels of oxygen, owing to the fact that plants had only just appeared on the land and started converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. Land was inhabited only by large insects; while some such as the Silurian Millipedes would apparently be harmless to modern day Earth life, some such as the Silurian Scorpions were deadly. (Episode 2.5)
416 million years ago marked the start of the Devonian period, also known as the age of fish, as gigantic predatory fish ruled the oceans. The Carboniferous followed and stretched from approximately 360-300 million years ago. It was full of swamps and rainforests, where giant insects and amphibians dwelled alongside the Carboniferous Arachnids, and Arthropleura, a giant centipede-like creature. Reptiles also evolved. The atmosphere was hot and oxygen-rich, possibly a contributing factor to the large size of the creatures in this period. (Episode 1.2)
The Permian was ruled by reptiles, most being the ancestors of mammals. These were called mammal-like reptiles, which included the Gorgonopsid, Dimetrodon, and Diictodon. Other reptiles of the Permian were the giant Scutosaurus (a distant relative of modern-day tortoises) and the flying lizard Coelurosauravus. There were still some giant amphibians in the Permian, such as the Labyrinthodont, although they were slowly dying off due to the desertification of the swamps and rainforests. The weather was extreme with freezing winters and very hot summers. At the end of the Permian 251 million years ago, there was a mass extinction which wiped out 95% of life. (Episode 1.1, Episode 3.3, Episode 4.5)
The Mesozoic era began with the Triassic period 251 million years ago; both the start and end of the Triassic are marked by major extinction events. One of the creatures to inhabit this harsh time period was the Therocephalian, the last mammal-like reptile, and it is the only mammal-like reptile to have a poisonous bite. (Episode 4.4) There was also a strange lizard in the Triassic known as Euparkeria, which was actually the first dinosaur, and early crocodilians like Postosuchus, which, unlike modern crocodilians, lived totally on land. (Extinction Event, Fire and Water)
Moving into the Jurassic period starting 200 million years ago, dinosaurs continued to dominate, growing large (in both scale and numbers) and spreading across the globe, while marine reptiles such as Liopleurodon took to the oceans. (Episode 5.2) Strange pterosaurs such as Anurognathus and giant dinosaurs such as Stegosaurus and Allosaurus also lived in this era as well, as did colonies of Jurassic Beetles. (Episode 1.5, S4 Prequel Episode 1, Episode 3.10, Fear of Flying (NW 1x3))
The Cretaceous, starting 145 million years ago, produced the first pachycephalosaurs such as Dracorex, the largest land predators ever such as Giganotosaurus, Spinosaurus, and Tyrannosaurus Rex, and also raptors. The Cretaceous also produced many non-dinosaurs, such as the more common pterosaurs such as Pteranodon, and marine lizards such as Mosasaurs. The Cretaceous also saw the rise of the first birds such as Hesperornis. Crocodilians such as Kaprosuchus and Deinosuchus also evolved during the Cretaceous. The Mesozoic era ended 65 million years ago when a meteor strike killed 85% of life on Earth. After 186 million years dominating the planet, the dinosaurs went extinct.
The next and current era is the Cenozoic, featuring the rise of the Mammals after the extinction of the Dinosaurs, starting with the Paleogene period and the Paleocene epoch. The Eocene epoch started 56 million years ago. During this time, mammals became dominant, while the giant birds of before went into decline (though they still existed in South America until 1 million years ago, and in North America until 10,000 years ago). (Episode 3.6) During the early Eocene, most of Earth was covered by forests. The dominant predators were huge carnivorous birds and crocodilians. Mammals were not very big, only about the size of cats. In the later parts of the Eocene the mammals began to take over and grew large enough to overthrow the birds. Creatures of the Eocene include Pristichampus (Episode 3.1) and Embolotherium. (Episode 3.9) 34 million years ago, a major extinction event marked the end of the Eocene and the start of the Oligocene.
The Oligocene and overall Paleogene's end came 23 million years ago, and saw large predators such as Hyeanodon, super-scavengers such as the Entelodon, and the start of the current period, the Neogene. With the Miocene epoch, the plants and animals were fairly modern. Mammals and birds were well-established, and whales, seals and kelp seaweed spread. The Pliocene started 5.3 million years ago and marked the arrival of primitive ape-like creatures such as Australopithecus which would eventually start Humanity, but they were not the hunters; they were hunted by giant predatory marsupials such as Thylacosmilus. (Episode 3.10) The Pleistocene came 2.6 million years ago, there was a severe ice age during this time. Modern humans and neanderthals also evolved. Columbian Mammoths were around at this time. (Episode 2.6) These beasts were hunted by Titanis (Episode 3.6) and Smilodon. (Episode 2.3)
The current epoch, the Holocene, started 11,550 years ago, Humans advanced rapidlly, becoming the most intelligent and advanced lifeform on Earth. Although we live alongside the animals on Earth, humanity's superiority meant that they had a large role in the history of the creatures we live alongside. As Humanity had advanced, it has caused the extinction of many species, such as the Dodo. (Episode 1.4) We have also taken many members of certain species, such as Dogs and Cattle, and used them for various needs.
The Anomaly phenomenon, doorways through time linking one spot in Earth's history to another, has affected history, with creatures straying through these gateways, sometimes causing trouble. The centre of anomaly activity is the early 21st century, which has led to it being discovered by a small group of Humans led by Nick Cutter and James Lester. An organisation was created to research the anomalies and combat any threats they posed. An incident led to Human history being minorly altered, with the ARC now tending to the phenomenon. (Episode 1.6, Episode 2.1)
The future has been changed and altered an uncertain number of times by interference in the past and present via the Anomalies. Virtually nothing is known about the current future, but the second Matt Anderson's appearance would suggest it to be bleak. (Episode 5.6)
In another future, New Dawn caused catastrophic atmospheric changes in 2011 which killed most life on Earth and reduced the surface of the planet to a sterile, inhospitable wasteland. This timeline was apparently negated when Matt Anderson's actions in the present stopped New Dawn. (Episode 4.7, Series 5)
Gallery of Earth's History
|Anomaly Research Centre • House of Commons • Beauty School|