The Earth was formed almost 4.54 billion years ago. This figure is to be placed in comparison with other figures such as:
The history of the Earth is divided as follows:
The animation does not illustrate the epochs and only the periods of the last aeon (Phanerozoic) are represented.
The main educational objective of this animation is to reveal the order of magnitude of the durations and the proportions. Keep in mind that there are two scales in this timeline:
Our usual perception of time does not allow us to correctly grasp the gigantic geological durations at work here. Thus, a mass extinction that appears punctually in the illustration spreads in reality over thousands or even millions of years. Such an event remains however very brutal on a geological time scale.
The International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS) has in its missions the establishment of a geological time scale. This scale is available at http://www.stratigraphy.org/. It is updated according to the discoveries of paleontologists.
See also the Geological Clock simulation to get another representation (at scale) of this timeline.