Explore over 4 billion years of ocean history from giant fossils to Megalodon shark teeth. As you journey down the ramp you will follow the history of the oceans’ until the present day, discovering how life came to be on Earth. Walking a timeline, you will meet some of the magnificent animals that lived during this period and take in the textures of the fossil wall, exploring the creatures of ocean’s past.
The first ocean was highly acidic and nothing could live there. Gradually it cooled and became more hospitable to an array of incredible species.
About 3,500 million years ago, life began in some watery place on earth – perhaps a tide pool, hot spring or deep sea vent. Chemicals became concentrated and reactions were sparked off by lightening. Ultraviolet radiation or volcanic heat created complex carbon-based chemicals that eventually became the first simple life forms.
About 600 million years ago, the first creatures with many cells evolved. They were soft-bodied like jellyfish, but soon more sophisticated animals evolved with hard parts for movement, attack and defence. By 500 million years ago, the first fishes swam in the ocean.
A few hundred million years later, giant sea reptiles dominated the seas. By 65 million years ago, all of these were extinct, leaving turtles amongst the few survivors. The furry four-legged creatures then began to exploit new opportunities within the ocean. Hyena-like creatures evolved into early whales, becoming fully aquatic, losing their fur and hind limbs and giving birth in the ocean.
Finally humans arrived to populate the planet and their lives soon became intricately linked with the ocean.