Continental drift is the movement of the Earth's continents relative to each other, thus appearing to "drift" across the ocean bed. The speculation that continents might have 'drifted' was first put forward by Abraham Ortelius in 1596. The concept was independently and more fully developed by Alfred Wegener in 1912, but his theory was rejected by some for lack of a mechanism (though this was supplied later by Holmes) and others because of prior theoretical commitments. The idea of continental drift has been subsumed by the theory of plate tectonics , which explains how the continents move.
In 1858 Antonio Snider-Pellegrini created two maps demonstrating how the American and African continents might have once fit together (on the right).