“We were the first that ever burst into that silent sea.”– STColeridge, Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Like the mariners of old, humanity has embarked on a deadly voyage into a world unable to support life in its current abundance. A stagnant, dying world where poisons seep amain through ocean and atmosphere.
Life first appeared on Earth around 3.8 billion years ago, not long after the planet itself formed. But for the next 3 billion years it did very little. There was something about those dark, primordial oceans that prevented lifeforms such as we see today, and such as ourselves, from arising. Only bacteria and primitive algae could survive. Then, around 700 million years ago, life burst forth in all its magnificent variety, growing from the simple creatures we see in the Ediacaran rocks of Australia to fish, plants and land-dwelling animals by around 300 million years ago.
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