Interactive Map Shows You What Your Hometown Looked Like Millions Of Years Ago

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The Earth has changed dramatically over the last 4.543 billion years. Just think how you've changed since you were 12. It's another thing to see for yourself how your hometown has moved over the course of 750 million years as our planet's tectonic plates have shifted and landmasses have grown apart or else been submerged beneath the oceans.

The map, created by California paleontologist Ian Webster, allows you to enter your hometown and select a time period from now until 750 million years ago, around 150 million years before multicellular animals emerged.

People playing around with it have been finding out their hometowns weren't quite where they expected them to be.

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That's not all that's on show here. By going through different time periods, you can see how early continents moved together to form the supercontinent Pangea around 335 million years ago, before breaking apart around 175 million years ago. You can also jump to different time periods, such as the Cretaceous when dinosaurs roamed the Earth (on the other side of the galaxy) or when animals began to take their first steps on land.

You may also be surprised to learn flowering plants first evolved about 130 million years ago, meaning land animals were wandering the globe for around 670 million years before they ever saw a flower. 

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The map uses GPlates – software for the visualization of plate tectonics – as well as map data. You can play around with the map for yourself here. The creator hopes the map will fascinate and surprise those who use it, such as the fact that Florida used to be submerged underwater and the US was once split by a shallow sea.

"It shows that our environment is dynamic and can change," Webster told CNN. "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."

 [H/T: CNN]

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