Date:27 February 2017
Engineers have created an interactive chart that maps dinosaur fossils and fossil data from all over the world.
The data was gathered from the Paleobiology Database, which collects information about fossils and related research. The map is covered in coloured dots that break down different geologic eras. It’s easy to zoom into countries and regions to see what discoveries were made where you live. Discovery types can also be filtered by Phylum (find it on the right side).
Mollusca: mollusks, like snails;
Arthropoda: arthropods, including insects like centipedes and trilobite like the Devonian era Kolihapeltis;
Cnidaria: classes include Scyphozoa commonly known as the true jellyfish and Cubozoa or box jellyfish;
Foraminifera: single-celled or amoeboid protists;
Radiolaria: protozoa with mineral skeletons between 0,1 and 0,2 millimetres;
Bryozoa: aquatic invertebrate animals; and
Echinodermata: Echinoderms like the starfish, sea cucumber and sea urchin.
Yes, it even covers dinosaur fossils – the animals from the Triassic and Jurassic parts of the Mesozoic era. This is also what laymen think of when they think of fossils. Locally Mesozoic fossils are most commonly found close to the borders of Lesotho and in the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
The oldest discovery on the map is Cyanobacteria – better known as blue-green algae – from the Palaeoarchaean era. The bacteria was discovered in Western Australia outside of Roebourne and date back to between 2.8 and 2.5 Ga. (In this instance Ga. is the abbreviation for a billion years.)
It is quite interesting to explore South Africa and see what collection of fossils have been found here. You’ll also see that different eras are found in close proximity of each other – like the collection of Cenozoic fossils discovered in various locations on the west coast.
Head over to the map by clicking here and see if you can find anything in your area!
Source: Popular Mechanics USA.