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"The face of the Earth, its image in the cosmos as seen from outside, from the depths of infinite celestial space, seems to us absolutely unique, inimitable and distinct from all other heavenly bodies. The face of the Earth exhibits the surface of our planet, its biosphere -- its outer domain separating it from its cosmic surroundings.”
(Vladimir Vernadsky, 1926)
On the planet we currently call home, the Earth, life slowly started to emerge. The earliest life forms were single-celled organisms with a simple internal structure. In these days, the Earth's atmosphere consisted mostly of the mixture of gases similar to what we know from volcanic activity – somewhat unfriendly conditions, by today's standards. Such factors as the Solar System's path through the galaxy, and the Earth's changing orbit in the Solar System, gave rise to great changes in climate, such as tremendous global warming and global cooling. Eight hundred million years ago, the planet was frigid, and glaciers reached as far as the equator. During the following hundreds of million years, there were great changes in temperature, geography and ocean currents. Continents broke apart and reformed. Higher forms of life developed: simple animals, which developed nervous systems and brains. Plant life developed and spread onto land, as did animals. The land-based plants expanded the activity of chlorophyll, creating an ever greater circulation of oxygen and water. This process, called photosynthesis, created an oxygen-rich atmosphere, which in turn created the protective ozone layer, allowing for the further evolution of life on Earth.
The development of the biosphere towards ever more complex organisms, finally created the conditions for an even higher form of life; a unique species, that is able to discover the active principles of the universe willfully and consciously - a species, that is itself able to harness and employ the anti-entropic powers of these processes: cognitive mankind.
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