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Interactive Map Shows Kids Which Dinosaurs Would Have Been Their Neighbors

It's a very good execution of a very cool idea.

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Sep 18 2020, 2:18 PM

It’s a sad reality that kids love dinosaurs but — spoiler alert — all of the dinosaurs are dead. And because Jurassic Park remains sadly fictional, parents are left to dinosaur toys and movies to indulge their kids’ dinomania. But now there’s a whole new way for kids to learn about their favorite extinct reptiles.

It’s called the Ancient Earth Globe, and it’s the brainchild of Ian Webster, a tech-savvy paleontologist based in California. (It’s also hosted on dinosaurpictures.org, which might be the most wholesome domain name on the Internet.)

At the top of the page, you can select how far back in time you want to go, up to 750 million years. When you select a time, the globe changes to reflect what the Earth looked like at that point based on what we know about continental drift and plate tectonics. There’s also a short summary of what was going on planetwide at the time and a separate dropdown menu that lets you jump to specific landmarks in the development of life on earth like the first coral reefs, first primates, and dinosaur extinction.

But the best feature is definitely the text box where you can enter the name of any city. When you do, the map will drop on pin on that city’s location at the time and display a list of the fossils that have been found nearby over the years. So if you live in Austin, your kid can learn that the bones of the Mosasaurus, Brachauchenius, and Dryptosaurus have all been found nearby. Each name is linked to a page with more information on that dinosaur, and there’s also a link that will take you back to the globe with pins everywhere fossils of that particular dinosaur have been found.

It’s very cool even if you’re not big on dinosaurs, but if you have a kid who loves them the Ancient Earth Globe could easily make their regular screen time more educational.

You and your kids can visit the Ancient Earth Globe online at dinosaurpictures.org/ancient-earth.