Princeton geoscientists believe they have discovered the oldest fossils of animal bodies ever found on earth: weird little tubey sponge-like creatures that lived 650 million years ago, pushing back the accepted "first animals" date by at least 70 million years.
Let's take a look at the old time line, shall we?
Somewhere around 4.5 billion long-ass years ago, the earth accreted itself into rocky existence from the gas, dust, and Big Bang bits of the solar nebula (crap left over from the formation of the sun).
After lounging around on the cosmic couch for several hundred million years, Earth got it together enough for life to begin around 3.8 billion years ago - pretty darn quick in celestial time, actually.
Now, where these single-celled little spuds came from is open to endless speculation — God; a magical blend of water, organic chemicals, and electricity; stowaways on meteorites; Xenu; or the back of the refrigerator — but they proceeded to fart around in a most unimpressive evolutionary manner until one billion years ago, when the first multicellular life strutted (well, oozed) onto the scene.
So, think about this: the only life on earth for 2.8 billion years were stupid little specks, then you had a few hundred million years of multicellular nonsense, then, FINALLY, the first simple animals — likely SpongeBob TinyPants mentioned above — roused themselves just 650 million years ago.
All the important biological stuff has happened in a relative frenzy since then. Now my head hurts.