See How Indiana and Surrounding States Have Changed Over the Past 750 Million Years
I'm going to assume we can all look at a map and point to Indiana, Kentucky, or Illinois. Actually, we probably don't even need to look at a map. We can picture the shape of each in our heads. The same goes for the entire United States. We can visualize Florida dangling off the bottom into the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. The state of Maine pointing northeast and the curve of the west coast are all pretty easy to "see" in our minds when we think about how the country looks on a map or globe. But as we know, thanks to science, the United States, and frankly every other country and continent in the world hasn't always looked the way they do now. What we may not know is how they looked before they took the shapes we're familiar with. Thanks to a new interactive globe, now we do.
See How Planet Earth Has Changed Over 750 Million Years
The Dinosaur Database features a fully interactive globe of our planet you can zoom in on and rotate to see just how much the ground beneath our feet has shifted and changed shape over time. It even lets you specifically target your hometown.
How the Tri-State Has Evolved
The map gives you several options to look back on, each a specific prehistoric era. I searched "Evansville" and jumped around to several of the different time periods. I starting with the most recent, 20 million years ago, known as the Neocene Period. During this time, mammals and birds were continuing to evolve into the forms we know them today and "early hominids" (a.k.a. primates) began to emerge in Africa.
North America looked a lot like we know it now, although what is now the state of Florida didn't exist and the Gulf Coast line into Mexico wasn't quite as defined.
We don't see a major difference compared to the present day until we jump back 50 million years to a time following the asteroid impact that killed the dinosaurs known as the Early Tertiary Period. By the looks of it, a portion of southern Illinois and the tip of western Kentucky was under ice while Evansville was on its coast, so to speak.
The first major change comes at 200 million years ago when all the continents were smashed together into one large mass known as the Pangea Supercontinent. At this time, the southern half of Florida would have been part of South America while it seems the only thing that separated the east coast from Africa was a large river.
The real fun is going all the way back 750 million years to the Cryogenian Period. Glaciers cover most of the planet and what land is visible looks nothing like what we know today. Also, the entire Tri-State appears to be in what is now Africa, so there's that.
The map is pretty cool to tinker around with to see just how much the world has changed over time. Try it for yourself on The Dinosaur Database website.
[Sources: The Dinosaur Database / Britannica]