Toilet Paper Timeline of Earth History

Posted August 21, 2010

by Lensyl Urbano

Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Jennifer Wenner has posted a beautiful demonstration of geologic time using toilet paper for the timeline at SERC. You’ll need a 1000 sheet roll and by the time you’re done there will be toilet paper everywhere.

This is a great demonstration because as you unroll the toilet paper you get a great feel for the long spans of time in the preCambrian when nothing much happens, and then, as you approach the present, events occur faster and faster. There’s 300 million years between the formation of the Moon and the formation of the Earth’s atmosphere. That’s 60 sheets! while modern man only turns up about 10,000 years ago, which is 0.002 sheets; about the width of the line drawn by a pen. Even the dinosaurs went extinct only 14 sheets from the end.

The SERC webpage has a spreadsheet with most of the important dates marked and translated into toilet paper units. The Worsley school in Canada has some nice pictures of the toilet paper being rolled out all the way down the hall.

History of life on Earth timeline (from NASA).

Citing this post: Urbano, L., 2010. Toilet Paper Timeline of Earth History, Retrieved February 23rd, 2018, from Montessori Muddle: http://MontessoriMuddle.org/ .
Attribution (Curator's Code ): Via: Montessori Muddle; Hat tip: Montessori Muddle.

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