One hallmark of science fiction writers is that they often try to predict the future. Jules Verne predicted landing on the moon. HG Wells predicted the atomic bomb. At the start of this decade, everyone’s pre-smartphone cell phones looked an awful lot like Jim Kirk’s communicator. And Picard’s handheld tablet seems a lot like an iPad – though obviously not as cool.
Of course, predicting the future is easy and fun (and no one you know will probably be around to give you grief when you’re shown to be off base), but apparently about 10 years ago, moviemakers decided they were going to start predicting the past. And what visionary film was going to chart this new retrognostication?
And as it turns out a paper published in the most recent edition of the journal Nature describes the remains of the first mammal found from the early Late Cretaceous period in South America. Yawn. Who cares, right? Well, the remains were of a highly derived dryolestoid – a rodent-like creature with big eyes, a long snout and long sharp canines. Sound like any cartoon character you know?
You see, that’s big news around here because one of The Beloved’s favorite cartoon characters is Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel from the Ice Age movies. In fact, I would argue that the preludes that feature Scrat are the best part of the entire Ice Age oeuvre. I mean, what’s not to love about a slightly crazed saber-toothed squirrel trying to hoard its beloved giant acorn? (Sadly, the eggheads from the University of Louisville didn’t have a sense of whimsy and named the animal Cronopio dentiacutus instead of something righteous like Awesomus scratus.)
And so, while the team behind Ice Age deserves a lot of credit for predicting such an important find, we will have to take a few points off for getting the number of zeroes wrong. Ice Age is supposed to take place tens of thousands of years ago, and I’m afraid the real Scrat lived tens of millions of years ago.
Unless of course, Scrats can time travel — hey, now there’s an idea for a movie!