A dino hiding in the world map: the Afro-Latinosaurus rex

A strange return to the age of the dinosaurs

Is there a name for the obscure, but strangely alluring hobby of spotting animal shapes in geographic features (*)? Previously discussed examples on this blog of the as yet unnamed pastime are the Animals on the Underground (#119) and the Ontario Elephant (#340). Here is one that I would like to call the Afro-Latinosaurus Rex.


It is no coincidence that the continents of Africa and South America resemble two interlocking pieces of a puzzle (Brazil's northeastern hump and Africa's Gulf of Guinea are a particularly good fit). Some 170 million years ago, before continental drift pushed them apart, South America and Africa were united in an ancient supercontinent called Gondwanaland.

This sequence of maps reverses the drift that continues to widen the Atlantic Ocean, and returns to the age of the dinosaurs in another way. By overlapping South America and Africa, it creates a siamese continent, but also, if turned 90 degrees to the left, a convincing approximation of a dino's head.

The narrow southern strip of South America shared by Chile and Argentina is the beast's lower jaw, Africa's southern part its upper jaw. The big, blunt bulk of West Africa is the animal's neck. Lake Victoria, the greatest of African lakes, doubles as the menacing eye of the Afro-Latinosaurus…

Many thanks to Daryl K. Putman, Timothy Vowles, James Bisset, Mark and a few others for sending in this map, found here.

Strange Maps #420

Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.

*: a somewhat similar activity, a discipline of divination, is called nephomancy: the ability to interpret shapes of clouds.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

10 books to check out from Jordan Peterson's 'Great Books' list

The Canadian professor has an extensive collection posted on his site.

Jordan Peterson with Carl Jung and the cover art of Jaak Panksepp's 'Affective Neuroscience' (Image: Chris Williamson/Getty Images/Big Think)
Personal Growth
  • Peterson's Great Books list features classics by Orwell, Jung, Huxley, and Dostoevsky.
  • Categories include literature, neuroscience, religion, and systems analysis.
  • Having recently left Patreon for "freedom of speech" reasons, Peterson is taking direct donations through Paypal (and Bitcoin).
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less

Should you invest in China's stock market? Know this one thing first.

Despite incredible economic growth, it is not necessarily an investor's paradise.

Videos
  • China's stock market is just 27 years old. It's economy has grown 30x over that time.
  • Imagine if you had invested early and gotten in on the ground floor.
  • Actually, you would have lost money. Here's how that's possible.