The exact time when t = 0 is highly tricky to gauge, highly contested, and hence, highly indeterminate amongst the cosmologists but I think a general consensus of 13.7 billion years as the age of the universe has been reached. This post, however, does not need an exact date of creation of universe (creationists hold the word ‘creation’ close to their hearts, but I obviously don’t mean that), and can do with the phrase ‘indeterminably long back in the past’.
It's quite funny when you come across people having varied queries about evolution, which is, or at least should be an integral part of education. What's not funny is the way these chaotic queries turn into views and theories that are passionately vouched for. Coming to the biped evolution, it’s really not amusing to hear people saying that all this seems to be planned, was planned (meaning man was predestined to evolve somehow)…of all the places in an institute which pledges by science and technology research…this is as ridiculous as vouching for creationists’ theory. It’s been noted in painstaking and meticulous details how the evolution progressed. The palaeo-records may not give species by species account as to what happened in the past. Instead it gives us a set of clues and evidences, which a logical, rational and commonsensical mind can use, and assemble the chain of events a la monsieur Poirot. This gives a lucid idea as to what happened and what existed in a particular geological time period.
I always say that there’s nothing like luck, right? Well, life on earth may just be an example of luck! Nothing but a stroke of luck! So many complex, mind-boggling phenomena have happened before we arrived, it can make anyone’s eyeballs go white. There has been so much of chance in whatever happened that if evolution were allowed to happen again, it would probably take a new route…a path in which many of the existing and well-established species won’t exist anymore, including us!
Philosophically speaking, the more I read about origin of universe, formation of earth, origin of life on earth and the process of evolution, the more polite and humble I feel. It’s a true exercise in remaining grounded. We are so, so diminutive and miniature in these whole astronomically vast dimensions of space and time that it borders on the verge of insignificance!