Big History Thresholds

Interactive timeline of Big History. It shows the eight fundamental thresholds in the history of the universe. From the Big Bang to the Present.

Browse, zoom and print this file using Timeline Software. Also, click on each historical event to read articles.



This Big History timeline includes eight fundamental thresholds that encompass both the history of Humanity and the history of the Universe. According to the Big History principles, thresholds are major transitions of increasing complexity. They help understand and summarize the whole history of the Universe from a human perspective.

Big historians use scientific principles and methods to organize and describe each threshold. Thresholds start with the birth and early expansion of the Universe. Then, they point out the first galaxies and stars, which produced the chemical elements we know today. Thresholds then continue moving forward in time. They highlight the emergence of life on Earth, the evolution of humans, the invention of agriculture, and finally, the rise of collective human learning.

For more information on each threshold, see the Timeline of the Universe, the Human Evolution and the Prehistory Periods timelines.

Also, learn more about Big History on the Big History Project website!


For each event, links are provided to access online articles, primary sources and related history timelines.

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Primary Sources

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