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(According to modern biology, the total evolutionary history from the beginning of life to today has taken place since 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago, the amount of time which passed since the last universal ancestor of all living organisms as shown by geological dating.) In a lecture in 1869, Darwin's great advocate, Thomas H.
Huxley, attacked Thomson's calculations, suggesting they appeared precise in themselves but were based on faulty assumptions.
Studies of strata, the layering of rocks and earth, gave naturalists an appreciation that Earth may have been through many changes during its existence.
This led him to estimate that Earth was about 75,000 years old.
In 1895 John Perry challenged Kelvin's figure on the basis of his assumptions on conductivity, and Oliver Heaviside entered the dialogue, considering it "a vehicle to display the ability of his operator method to solve problems of astonishing complexity." Other scientists backed up Thomson's figures. Darwin, proposed that Earth and Moon had broken apart in their early days when they were both molten.
He calculated the amount of time it would have taken for tidal friction to give Earth its current 24-hour day.
This was a challenge to the traditional view, which saw the history of Earth as static, He assumed that Earth had formed as a completely molten object, and determined the amount of time it would take for the near-surface to cool to its present temperature.
His calculations did not account for heat produced via radioactive decay (a process then unknown to science) or, more significantly, convection inside the Earth, which allows more heat to escape from the interior to warm rocks near the surface.