California paleontologist Ian Webster has created a new interactive map that lets you see which dinosaurs lived in your hometown millions of years ago.
The map — available here — lets you input your hometown (or any city you want) to see where it was in the world millions of years ago. Moreover, the map details which dinosaurs and species lived in that area at that time.
- For example, enter “Salt Lake City.” Its location is mostly the same. But the map lists “Grallator, Triceratops, Centrosaurus” as nearby fossils.
- It also reads: “Early Cretaceous. The world is warm and has no polar ice caps. Large reptiles dominate and mammals remained small. Flowering plants evolve and spread throughout the world.”
These results change as you switch the time. For example, take Salt Lake City and go back to 260 million years ago. The fossils changed to “Grallator, Triceratops, Centrosaurus.”
- The description reads: “Late Permian. The greatest mass extinction in history is about to take place, driving 90% of species extinct. The extinction of plants reduced food supply for large herbivorous reptiles, and removed habitat for insects.”
Why it matters:
Webster told CNN that the map has an important meaning about our planet.
- “It shows that our environment is dynamic and can change. The history of Earth is longer than we can conceive, and the current arrangement of plate tectonics and continents is an accident of time. It will be very different in the future, and Earth may outlast us all.”