Saturday, 3 December 2011

map of the supercontinent Pangaea

"Our world long ago, all the lands joined together
When first appeared beasties of fur and of feather"

This is a map of the world as it may have looked around 240 million years ago in the middle of the Triassic period. Drawn with pen and ink, coloured and textured digitally.

Two massive lands Gondwana and Laurasia had just bumped into each other, creating the Appelation Mountains and forming the supercontinent Pangaea.

Although there are other maps of Pangaea around, I could not find any illustrated in an old world style with monsters roaming the land and seas. So I just had to have a go at making one myself. Yep... nerd. I know.

Please note, I am an artist not a scientist. Although I did a fair bit of research to get it as right as I could, there is still plenty of artistic license. For instance, I made up all the rivers - sorry, I just couldn't find reference which told me where the real ones were. A few of the mountains could well be wrong too. And that volcano in between South America and Africa, well it just looked good there. So to any time travellers out there, this map is not to be used for navigation, it is decoration only!

Meet the beasties...

The animals featured are all carefully based on life that would have been kicking around within ten million years or so of that time. I intentionally didn't label them on the map, as I think leaving the creatures a little vague and generic aids imagination. Further more, when these creatures actually existed they didn't have titles such as Saurisichisan or Amonite, instead they would have thought of each other as 'the scaley thing with big teeth it is better not to go near' or 'the tasty little furred critter' or maybe 'the giant winged one who poos from the sky'.

But for the curious, and for a closer look at all the detail going on, here is a list of what the beasties are meant to represent. (You are allowed to scroll quickly through this bit. I am being a little self indulgent)

Cynodont - mammals evolved from something like this. Guess what.. you and I are all Cynodonts! They probably had fur and whiskers.

Eoraptor - a small, very very early dinosaur. It's descendents are still around - we eat them as parmagianas and they like to poo on our cars.

Nothosaur - a swimming lizard, not a dinosaur. Some later evolved into Plesiosaurs.

Stagonolepis - a big herbivorous armadillo-like reptile
Coelophysis - early dinosaur critter. This one looks quite happy.

Placodont - imagine a giant flattened out marine iguana.
Pterorynchus - a crested Pterosaur.

Pterosaurs were flying reptiles and were not related in any way to birds, and they weren't dinosaurs either!

These critters start showing up in the fossil record of the Late Triassic as fully formed flying animals, so they must have been around earlier in some form - surely - so I featured them here.
Thalattosaur - another 'ocean lizard'

Rutiodon - looked like a crocodile, but wasn't a crocodile. Was actually a type of Phytosaur.

Panphagia - one of the earliest dinosaurs.
Cynognathian - just look at him run! A bear sized mammal-like critter. Probably furry.
Ichtheosaur - not a dinosaur, but a kind of swimming lizard which looked quite dolphin like. Gave birth to live young!

Have you noticed how much convergent evolution is going on here? Form follows function I guess.
Eudimorphodon - another early Pterosaur. Looks happy about it too.

Amonite - a prehistoric squid which wore a shell!
 Eoraptor - one of the fist dinosaurs. I bet they tasted like chicken.

Rauisuchus - not a dinosaur, more of a big long legged crocodile. One of the top predators of the time.
Dicynodont - a hippo sized mammal-like reptile.
Helicoprion - a weird Triassic shark with teeth growing in a spiral.
Temnospondyl - a very large toothed amphibian, just think crocodile-like frog.

Lived on in Australia 100 million years longer than elsewhere. That kinda thing just seems to happen here.

The Triassic plants featured are fern trees, ferns, conifers, giant club mosses, quillworts and cycads.

As you can see this artwork has an extraordinary amount of texture and detail. It is designed to look its best when printed at poster sizes. It would be ideal educational artwork for a classroom or decoration for a kids room.

R :)


  1. Amonites are my favourite fossils, would always hope to find one in lyme regis, but never did. Sam did manage to find a geode thing when we went there on holiday last April though :)

  2. Gorgeous details on this, and the colour is beautiful. I especially like the little trotting Cynognathian.

  3. Great detail - and I think you've captured the olde world map style of 'here there be monsters' too. :)


  4. Love all the little details and fantastic Olde World Map treatment.

  5. pooooor idiots!!! Evolution is a joke i will offer you any amount of money to prove any field of your so called science!!! Jude Wilkinson

  6. you have to have help to be this dumb!! i mean you really couldn't do it on your own!

  7. I notice I have had some comments from a creationist. An angry one too!

    I welcome to my blog persons of all cultural backgrounds and belief sets. Comments regarding my work, including thoughts, concerns, ideas, or constructive criticism, whether positive or negative, are always encouraged.

    Just keep it polite and friendly from now on, okay?

    Thanks, Richard :)

  8. I agree with Jude. This world was created by the one true God Vishnu, the Preserver of the universe. Anyone trying to prove otherwise is a fool and will be banished to Naraka by Shiva the destroyer.

  9. Amazing map !!! I love it
    i wish I could afford to buy a poster :(