I’m a big fan of timelines, especially the ones that show multiple fields of information at once. (One of the best presents I ever received was a book called Timelines of World History where each page shows what was happening on each continent at each date in history…)

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has a timeline to warm my heart: the Human Evolution Timeline.

At first glance, the timeline doesn’t show a lot of information. There are squiggles showing climate fluctuations and blurs showing primary species.

But if you click on the button that says Magnifier, in the lower left corner, you can slide a magnifying bar over the entire timeline. Suddenly, a scattering of multi-color dots appears, and each one marks a notable development in human evolution.

Ready to spend a couple of hours browsing through human evolution?