Curiosity about the world and its distant past has found a fascinating outlet in an interactive website called Ancient Earth. Developed by Ian Webster, a senior engineering manager at Discord, this website offers users a captivating journey through time to discover which dinosaurs once roamed near their current location.
The main feature of Ancient Earth is a three-dimensional representation of our globe that lets users investigate the various geological periods that have occurred over the previous 750 million years. The website depicts important points in Earth’s history together with details on the terrain, temperature, and, of course, the dinosaurs that formerly roamed the area.
A unique feature of Ancient Earth is the ability to input any town or city and witness its geographical evolution over time. For instance, if you enter New York City and rewind the clock to 750 million years ago, you’ll find it situated in the Cryogenian Period, a time when glaciers may have covered much of the planet. The website places a red dot on the map to indicate the relative location of the city during that era.
Beyond geographical exploration, Ancient Earth provides insights into the fossils found in the vicinity of the selected location. For New York City, users can learn about dinosaurs like Grallator from the Cretaceous Period and the formidable Pteranodon from the Late Cretaceous.
Ian Webster initially developed this interactive globe for The Dinosaur Database, touted as the “internet’s largest dinosaur database,” in 2018. The platform is based on GPlates software, which enables users to manipulate the planet’s plate tectonics across different time periods.
This journey through time not only satisfies the innate curiosity about Earth’s past but also imparts a profound perspective on the brevity of human existence in geological terms. By showcasing Earth’s transformative history and the diverse creatures that once inhabited it, Ancient Earth encourages users to appreciate the dynamic nature of our planet and the infinitesimal role humans play in its vast timeline.