Could you be walking in the footsteps of a terrifying Tyrannosaurus rex? Would pterodactyls have soared in the skies over your neighborhood? If you have ever wondered about what extinct creatures once roamed right in your neck of the woods, there’s a map for that.
Ancient Earth Globe is an online, interactive map that allows users to research what any area of the world might have looked like at a given point in prehistoric times. Paleontologist Ian Webster used Experiments with Google, which are browser-based projects with interactive art, technology, design and culture that teach and inspire others.
The map, which you can access here, will show you what Earth looked like at a given point in time. You select the time using a drop-down menu, with options ranging from 20 million to 750 million years ago. You can take it a step further by typing the name of any location in the City Name box. A red pin will appear in the correct location, along with a list of fossils found near the area.
Clicking on the name of a dinosaur in the list of nearby fossils will open a new page with pictures and information to show and tell you all about the dinosaur such as what it ate, when it lived and places fossils have been found around the world.
Once you’ve dropped a pin on your town, you can change the dates to see where your home was as plate tectonics shifted the location and shape of the continents.
Webster says that his project shows how our environment can change, and that Earth’s history is longer than most of us can conceive. He also says the planet is still changing and will be very different in the future.
The map is both in-depth and easy to use, so professors, teachers, parents and kids can all learn about the science and history of the Earth.
“It is meant to spark fascination and hopefully respect for the scientists that work every day to better understand our world and its past,” Webster told CNN. “It also contains fun surprises, for example how the U.S. used to be split by a shallow sea, the Appalachians used to be very tall mountains comparable to the Himalayas, and that Florida used to be submerged.”