Many South Africans may be oblivious to the fact that dinosaur bones have in the past been discovered in their neighbourhood or just a few kilometres from where they live.

But thanks to an interactive map, we can now see exactly where scientists have found and dug up bones – ranging from just a few to thousands of pieces.

Scientists, led by principal investigator, Shanan Peters, have used data from various various paleontology databases to create the Paleobiology Database, a map collection of discoveries of ancient species fossils including mammals, reptiles, ocean species and more, discovered around the world.

There are over 8 000 discovery sites on the map and 25 000 fossils that have been uncovered.

The map pin points site using colour-coded dots, each representing the species type of the fossil.

Hovering over a dot reveals information such as how many bone pieces (or collections) were discovered, the area where they were discovered and who led the discovery.

In South Africa, most of the discoveries seem to be concentrated along the centre of the country, along the borders of KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and the Northern Cape.

See the full map on Paleobiology Database.

[Image – CC Mike Shaver]