The picture of today’s Earth is only a snapshot, for the continents are constantly drifting apart. The animation on the right slowly turns the clock of the Earth’s history back 180 million years, to the Jurassic period.
Even then, the former supercontinent Laurasia in the Northern Hemisphere had already broken up. At the fracture points, shallow shelf seas flooded the land.
The Jurassic Sea was one such ocean. With the exception of a few islands, it covered much of Europe. The picture on the left roughly shows the distribution of land and sea. During the Lower Jurassic, today’s Holzmaden fossil site was approximately 150 kilometres away from the nearest coast.