National Geographic: Adventures in Time



That relentless force that transports us

from what was to what will be.

Though no one can say exactly

what time is

we do know what time it is.

For Millennium, this is a landmark

a special moment in time.

But far from all the commotion

millions of others count their years

very differently.

For Buddhists

the year 2000 came and went more

than five hundred years ago.

In the Muslim world

it was only the year 1420.

While for many Jews

it's the year the date was 5760.

Nevertheless the observance

of this year 2000

is a singular opportunity...

to listen to the heartbeat

of the planet.

The National Geographic Society has long

been capturing time:

making it stop, slowing it down,

and speeding it up...

All to better comprehend the relentless

flow from what was to what will be.

We invite you now to see the world

through our eyes

as we explore the epic adventure of life

through time.

For Time is the measure of our universe...

and only over time can we understand

the natural world.

And it is our unique grasp of Time

that helped give rise to science

and culture... to civilization itself.

Take time, add exploration and

the quest for knowledge

and you have the human story.

A story of constant

and accelerating change.

But now perhaps

we are at a most critical point

on the verge of controlling nature

and on the brink of destroying it.

What kind of world will we leave

to our children?

Only Time will tell.

In a single, ferocious instant

an explosion of heat and light

Time, as we know it, began.

It was the big bang.

Some thirteen billion years later

the cosmos defines our sense of wonder...

strewn with things unimaginable

like black holes

and towering nebulae trillions

of miles high spawning countless stars.

About two-thirds of the way through

the history of time

our own solar system was born.

A handful of planets

and assorted debris orbiting

an unremarkable star.

In this immense universe

our own planet is like an insignificant

blue ornament tenuously protected

by a paper thin atmosphere.

But a closer look reveals that there's

something wonderful going on here

something rare perhaps or even unique.

Something called Life.

To see the origin of life

we need only look beneath the waves.

Here, hundreds of millions of years ago

the sea was a living soup

of tiny organisms.

In this vast incubator life slowly

evolved from the simple to the complex.

Then, about 540 million years ago

there was an explosion of innovation.

Quite suddenly, entirely new forms

of life began to emerge.

In the millions of years

that followed armor plate

and prickly spines appeared to protect

creatures from a new threat:


In time, deadly jaws appeared...

and sinewy creatures who

muscled their way into the arms race.

Some animals have changed very little

over millions of years.

Among these living fossils are sharks:

part time machine, part killing machine.

We still are trying to understand

the elusive ways of

these remarkably well-adapted predators.

On the windswept Farallon Islands

off the coast of California

researchers have spent years following

the hunting patterns

of individual great white sharks.

...this bite looks like it could

be a seal or a sea lion, you know...

"Over seven years up to forty great

whites have been identified.

Some are observed in one season

and then never seen again.

While others come back every year.

One of these is a massive eighteen-foot

female named Stumpy -

so called because the tip

of her tail fin is missing."

"We don't know where Stumpy is during

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