Like many toddlers, my son is fascinated with dinosaurs. So when my wife read an article titled “This Map Lets You Plug in Your Address to See How It’s Changed Over the Past 750 Million Years“ in Smithsonian magazine, she knew it was up our alley. She sent it over for me to check out. The title alone got me excited.
Dinosaurpictures.org is billed as the internet’s largest dinosaur database. The site was built with help from PaleoDB, a scientific database assembled by hundreds of paleontologists over the past two decades. It curates high-quality, realistic illustrations of dinosaurs and other ancient creatures for kids, students, teachers, and more. You can use Dinosaurpictures.org to see random dinosaurs in illustrated color, search for specific dinosaurs using the database, or—best of all—use an interactive map to see what dinosaurs lived in your area and how different parts of the world looked in dinosaur times.
The map lets you plug in your address to see how that location changed over the past 750 million years. Once you’ve inputted your address (if you don’t do that, you’ll see the whole globe), you use a drop-down menu to choose a time period, like: first multicellular life, first shells, first coral reefs, first vertebrates, first land plants, first land animals, first insects, first reptiles, first dinosaurs, first flowers, first primates, first grass, first hominids, Pannotia supercontinent, Pangea supercontinent, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretaceous, or dinosaur extinction. You can also use the left and right arrows on your keyboard to scroll through periods. Scroll through a few of them and you’ll no doubt see the land and water you’re familiar with looking very different. You’ll also see a clickable list of dinosaurs and creatures that lived in the area in that period.
The Dinosaurpictures.org map was a hit with Jack, but I think it’s a cool tool for travelers of all ages. Next time you travel internationally, pop in your destination to see what it used to look like and what dinosaurs used to live there!