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Google, Museums Bring Extinct Species Back to Life Online

Explore interactive stories from experts, photos and videos and visual tours of the prehistoric world.

Ever wish you could step back in time, millions of years, to experience what it would be like to live among dinosaurs and prehistoric sea creatures? Now you can, thanks to Google.

No the tech giant hasn't invented a time machine, but on Tuesday announced the next best thing: a new Web exhibit it's launching in collaboration with more than 50 of the world's leading natural history institutions to bring the extinct world back to life, online. To check it out, head over to Google Arts & Culture, where you can explore more than 150 interactive stories from experts, 300,000 new photos and videos and more than 30 visual tours.

 

There, you can, for instance, "come face to face with a 180 million-year-old giant," -- the rhomaleosaurus -- in virtual reality, Google Cultural Institute Director Amit Sood wrote in a blog post. The sea dragon was discovered in Dorset in the UK and currently resides at London's Natural History Museum. But now anyone can "see its muscles, its movement and the texture of its skin, and learn all about how it lived," right from the comfort of home.

Google also used VR to bring one of the tallest dinosaurs that ever lived -- the 42-foot Giraffatitan -- back to life in Berlin's natural history museum. Google recommends checking it out with a viewer like Cardboard for the best experience.

"We wanted to give you a glimpse of how these colossal creatures actually looked," Sood wrote. "So we worked with ecologists, paleontologists and biologists to put virtual skin and flesh on the preserved skeletons. From the size of the eye to the position of the snout and the bend of the neck, the texture and creases of the skin were all painstakingly recreated and verified by a team of scientists."

The free collection is available online here, and through the Google Arts & Culture mobile app for iOS and Android. Teachers, meanwhile, can take advantage of more than 20 new Google Expeditions.


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