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List of time periods

Cosmological time periods

The cosmological timescale is the longest imaginable. It covers the entire
extent of the universe - many billions of years. A short first period is
measured in tiny fractions of seconds, but thereafter most things happen on
the scale of billion years. It is used to consider events noticeable on a
universal scale, such as the formation of matter, stars, and galaxies.

   * The Big Bang

Geologic time periods

The geologic timescale covers the extent of the existence of Earth, from
about 4600 million years ago to the present day. It is used to consider the
formation and change of the Earth itself, and large-scale changes in the
planet's inhabitants.

Dates are given as Millions of Years Ago (MYA).

        Eon              Era               Period              Epoch
                   (4600-3800 MYA)
 Precambrian       Archaean
 (4600-544 MYA)    (3800-2500 MYA)
                   (2500-544 MYA)
                                    Cambrian (544-505
                                    (505-440 MYA)
                                    Silurian (440-410
                   Paleozoic        Devonian (410-360
                   (544-245 MYA)    MYA)
                                    Carboniferous       (360-325 MYA)
                                    (360-286 MYA)       Pennsylvanian
                                                        (325-286 MYA)
                                    Permian (286-245
                                    Triassic (245-208
 Phanerozoic (544                   MYA)
 MYA - now)        Mesozoic (245-65 Jurassic (208-146
                   MYA)             MYA)
                                    Cretaceous (146-65
                                                        Paleocene (65-54
                                                        Eocene (54-38 MYA)
                                    Tertiary (65-1.8    Oligocene (38-23
                                    MYA)                MYA)
                   Cenozoic (65 MYA                     Miocene (23-5 MYA)
                   - now)                               Pliocene (5-1.8
                                    Quaternary (1.8     (1.8-0.01 MYA)
                                    MYA - now)          Holocene (0.01 MYA
                                                        - now)

The Paleocene, the Eocene, and the Oligocene are also collectively known as
the Paleogene. The Miocene and the Pliocene are also collectively known as
the Neogene.

These names differ across different countries; in particular, the division
of the Carboniferous period into Mississippian and Pennsylvanian is purely a
North American distinction.

Human time periods

The "human" timescale covers the time that humans have existed, usually
taken to be from about 250,000 years ago - when Homo Sapiens began to
develop. It is broadly divided into prehistorical (before history began to
be recorded) and historical periods (when written records began to be kept).

Calendar systems

   * Common Era

Human prehistorical periods

Human prehistory is usually divided by stages in development. However,
different parts of the world entered these developmental stages at different
times, so it is impossible to put firm dates on these periods.

   * the stone age - up to about 2500 BC
        o Palaeolithic (Old stone age)
        o Mesolithic (Middle stone age)

        o Neolithic (New stone age)
   * the bronze age - up to about 750 BC
   * the iron age - up to the historical periods

Human historical periods

   * Antiquity (Ancient Greece, c:a 1000 BC-, see Timeline of Ancient
   * Pax Romana (Roman Empire, 96 - 180)
   * Period of the Three Kingdoms (China, 220 - 280)
   * Middle ages (Europe, 5th century - 14th century)
   * Nara period (Japan, 709 - 795
   * Period of Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (China, 907 - 960)
   * Sengoku period (Japan, 1478 - 1605)
   * The Renaissance (Europe, 14th century - 16th century)
   * Elizabethan period (United Kingdom, 1558 - 1603)
   * Napoleonic Era, 1799-1815
   * Victorian era (United Kingdom, 1837 - 1901)
   * Meiji era (Japan, 1868 - 1912)
   * Post-communist period (Russia, after 1991)
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