Or if you want to get technical, land fungi, also a type of plant, have been around about 1,300 million years. Plants came along, and with them the ﬁrst puﬀ of breathable oxygen that some think gave rise to practically every critter thereafter. Itʼs the theory of evolution you probably learned in most schools quite early on. Plants through the process of photosynthesis take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. As an organism, how much more inﬂuential on a planet can you be? Modern man has only been around for about 200,000 years, not quite nipping at the heels of the plants on the seniority chart of living things.