Follow TV Tropes

Following

Literature / The Future Is Wild

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/511q6qafvml_sy445.png
Advertisement:

The Future is Wild is a Speculative Biology franchise that speculates on the possibility of how life might evolve in the future, focusing entirely on three distinct eras: an Ice Age 5 million years into the future, a wetter, warmer era 100 million years from now, and a period 200 million years ahead in which all the continents have merged into one again.

It began with a TV Speculative Documentary miniseries produced by Britain and the United States that aired on Animal Planet and Discovery Channel in 2003. Each of the 13 episodes covered a different environment from one of the three time periods, as well as the animals that inhabited such places. A companion book co-written by consultant Dougal Dixon (who also wrote its Spiritual Predecessor After Man: A Zoology of the Future) and producer John Adams was released alongside the show. The series was a huge hit with viewers, spawning various pieces of merchandise and even theme park exhibitions in Japan and France.

Advertisement:

The series also spawned a CGI children's animated series produced by Nelvana. This Animated Adaptation starred a teenage girl from ten thousand years into the future named C.G. who explores the environments featured in the miniseries alongside a group of twenty-first century teens (Luis, Emily, and Ethan) — as well as a future squid — picked up by accident. It ran for 26 episodes on Teletoon and Discovery Kids from 2007-2008. Tropes for the cartoon can be found here.

A documentary film version of the series was originally set to be picked up by Warner Bros., however, the series may be rebooted by Vanguard Animation and broadcasting at HBO. There are also plans for a Virtual Reality game based on the series by the studio CGARTIST in development. But time will tell if anything comes out of all this.

Advertisement:

The Future is Wild documentary-styled miniseries provides examples of:

  • After the End: The premise is about how life will evolve millions of years after humans are gone.
  • Allegorical Character: Virtually every portrayed animal is a summation of a recurring evolutionary process in the history of Earth. See Characters for specific examples.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: Twice, in the same episode. A huge, predatory silverswimmer is warned away when it gets too close to the even bigger rainbow squid, which later falls prey to the pack-hunting sharkopath (which are, ironically, much smaller than both the predatory silverswimmer and rainbow squid).
  • Apocalypse How: Class 4, Planetary Species Extinction.
    • In the US release, humans simply left to settle/live in space. The probes documenting the various creatures were sent by them/their descendants.
    • In the UK release, humans are extinct but it's never said exactly how they went extinct. In nature, there are two ways an animal can become extinct: by being killed off, or by evolving enough that you're eventually considered a different species. The US version and the UK version are not mutually exclusive: humans could have gone off into space and diverged into multiple "alien" species over the millions of years, thus rendering Homo sapiens to be extinct while leaving other species of humans alive.
    • 100-200 MYH, a series of massive volcanic eruptions, a meteor strike, and the continents colluding into a single giant occupied by mostly desert all collude to wipe out most lifeforms, including all tetrapods, leaving fish and invertebrates, such as molluscs, insects, and polychaete worms, to inherit the world left over.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • Some of the predictions are, to say the least, less than likely. For instance, it's quite unlikely for all mammals to be simply outcompeted into total extinction by other vertebrates in the way depicted in the show, and certainly quite impossible for arthropods and cephalopods to totally displace vertebrates in general in all large animal niches. The Doylist explanation is that the show didn't want to render fur in CGI.
    • The Megasquid is easily the most controversial creature in the entire show, as it is a terrestrial eight-ton animal with no bones or internal skeleton that supports its weight with muscle power alone. This is extremely unlikely due to the sheer stress force of its weight without any rigid structures, with the largest land invertebrate ever being 6-foot giant millipedes (and even those had exoskeletons for support.)
    • The Spink is one of the least likely. Eusocial bird? Maybe. Eusocial flightless burrowing bird? Less likely. Eusocial flightless burrowing bird with proportions completely different from any real bird? Getting increasingly unlikely. All of that happening in under five million years, from the starting point of a quail, an animal that does none of those things? Er... (not even mentioning how rodents, which have already evolved eusocial burrowing forms more than once, are still around when the Spink lives).
    • Similarly, the Deathgleaner is a diurnal predatory bat filling a niche like a desert vulture or a hawk, a highly unlikely niche for a bat to occupy in a world where birds are very much still around and would be too much competition for bats for them to fill the niche in avian presence. Bat wings have much poorer termoregulation than bird wings and tend to overheat in the sun; in consequence, most bats are nocturnal (which limits competition with birds) and the few larger, diurnal species live mostly in rainforests where there is abundant shadow and humidity. Bizarrely, the show does reference the poor termoregulation of bat wings, but as a reason for the Deathgleaner to switch from being active in the cold desert night... to the hot desert day. Which it would be even less suited to.
    • Squibbons are said to continue the trend of cephalopods evolving "bigger and better brains"...except there's one little problem: a cephalopod's brain is wrapped around their esophagus, and a bigger brain would literally choke them to death. This constraint is probably one reason why modern octopuses rely on a decentralized nervous system with accessory "mini-brains" in their arms to boost their intellectual abilities. However, octopi had been evolving for millions of years to that point — see the swampus — and presumably by that point they'd have adapted.
    • The Titan Dolphin shown in the prototype VR game is a completely absurd depiction of cetacean anatomy: it is terrestrial and walks on its forelimbs like a theropod dinosaur, meaning that its torso is entirely ribcage and it has no space for internal organs whatsoever. The original art instead shows something more like a slug-like ambush predator.
    • How cephalopods managed to circumvent the osmotic balancing issues to evolve terrestrial forms with the terasquids goes totally unmentioned, especially since the Swampus is mentioned to have never overcome them, still needing to return to brackish water periodically (hence why no freshwater or terrestrial cephalopods, living or extinct, are known, but both freshwater and terrestrial gastropods are very numerous). Instead only their evolution of weight-bearing limbs and a lung are mentioned (both of which are not strictly required for terrestrial life, since terrestrial vertebrae species with neither exist).
    • The desert hopper is a rabbit-sized snail that stands and moves around on in an erect, upright posture, like a bird, but only with one foot. Monopods like this are bio-mechanically unlikely for a number of reasons (it's more energy intensive to move compared to two or more legs, it's hard to balance, it puts a lot of pressure on the body since the animal is constantly slamming up and down with no support from another leg etc.), and the episode never explains how a land animal with no bones could be standing upright, never mind hopping, on top of that. A likelier scenario given the desert setting could see future snails not jumping or hopping per se, but maybe looping or inching along like modern-day inchworm caterpillars in order to minimise contact with the hot sand.
    • The forests of future Antarctica are dominated by petrels. These are highly specialised seabirds that have had literally countless opportunities to become terrestrial since they're usually the first birds to arrive to oceanic islands, yet never did. More likely Antarctica would come to be dominated by terrestrial birds and bats blown by storms much like other islands.
    • The toraton is a giant tortoise filling the niche of a sauropod, and growing to sizes as large as the largest of them. However, this is a bit of a problem as sauropods, like most dinosaurs, had relatively lightweight pneumatized skeletons with efficient respiratory sytems, which allowed them to save on weight and get more oxygen to sustain their enormous bodies. Tortoises, lacking both features, would be unable to reach such sizes as they are too dense and heavy to grow much larger.
    • Carakillers are shown having re-evolved a dinosaur-like wing claw. However, while this is not unlikely, as ratites, hoatzins and even domestic chickens possess small wing claws, the carakiller is shown dispatching prey with its feet and beak: making such hypertrophied wing claws on tiny vestigal wings redundant and unnecessary.
    • Babookaris have long, well developed tails that are used for communication. This is unlikely to evolve from uakaris, who have short, almost vestigial tails. Babookaris would be likelier to descend from Capuchin monkeys, who have long tails and are both more generalist and more intelligent than uakaris (even using stone tools).
  • Artistic License – Geology: The mountains of the Great Plateau are said to be 33,000 feet tall. This is unlikely, because the height of mountains is limited by Earth's gravity — Mt. Everest's 29,028-foot height is essentially the limit for how tall a mountain can be without collapsing under its own weight. However, there are mountains that exceed Everest's height; the summit of Mt. Chimborazo is over 6,800 feet farther from the center of the Earth than Everest's peak due to the Earth's bulge at the Equator. In addition, there are mountains taller than Everest like Mauna Kea at about 33,500 feet, but mostly hidden under water, so a mountain can be far taller than Everest if a) they're near the equator, and b) if the water level is lower, which is very possible if there's an Ice Age. Neither of these apply to the Great Plateau, though.
  • Ascended to Carnivorism:
    • The babookaris (descending from frugivorous New World Monkeys) of the future have gone from eating fruit, to eating fish. This isn't particularly far-fetched, as most species of primate are some level of omnivorous as it is.
    • The slithersucker... in a way. The slime moulds of today are passive detritivores or otherwise feed only on microbes, while the slithersucker actively creates its own compost by trapping and killing small flying animals like flish and insects, and growing from their rotting carcasses.
  • Bat Out of Hell: The Deathgleaner, a species of giant predatory bats inhabiting the deserts the new Ice Age.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Silver spiders, falconflies, slickribbons... hell, the future seems to be especially wild for invertebrates.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The squibbons rescue one of their young from a megasquid. It actually plays out like a Saturday Morning Cartoon.
  • Bioluminescence Is Cool: Employed by the Rainbow Squid to put on amazing light displays during mating, as well as Sharkopaths that use it to signal to each other when hunting down rainbow squids.
  • Bizarre Alien Locomotion: The ocean phantom uses extensible sails to direct its journeys via wind power. The megasquid's numerous walking-tentacles give it a unique gait. Most terabyte castes are Too Important to Walk, but are carried by the transporter caste.
  • Chest Monster:
    • The Spitfire Beetle acts as this to the Spitfire Bird — four of these assemble into a fake flower to attract the bird, and then they jump on it and take it down.
    • The Deathbottle's top looks and reeks like a rotting fish , which attracts the Bumblebeetle. Thankfully for the bug, this one isn't lethal to them.
    • The slithersucker disguises itself as a lichen "fruit" so that it'll end up eaten by a megasquid, and then it becomes a Puppeteer Parasite that mind controls the animal to spread its chunks around.
  • Cockroaches Will Rule the Earth: Not cockroaches per se, but the series ends with the implication that the descendants of squid will evolve into a new civilization. It's squid that get this treatment, with the tree-dwelling ape-like squibbon implied to be the ancestor of a future sapient species of squid people (or "squeople").
  • Crapsaccharine World: This is pretty much the Poggle's natural habitat. They are farmed by Silver Spiders, who provide them with loads of food, look after them, and protect them until they are fully grown, at which point they are brutally slaughtered and fed to the spider colony's queen.
  • Crippling Overspecialization:
    • This causes some species to go extinct. Most monkeys die out once the Amazon rainforest gives way to vast grasslands, being unable to deal with a sudden change in lifestyle, though the Babookari is one notable exception.
    • Terabytes have it in the literal and trope sense. Most of the castes are overspecialized in their job to the point where their legs are vestigal or even completely absent. As such, they require a transporter caste to carry them around.
  • Cub Cues Protective Parent:
    • The Deathgleaners attempt to prey on a baby Rattleback, but are forced to retreat when its distress cries bring its much larger and angrier mother charging the bats.
    • Although it's not necessarily the parent, the killing of a toraton hatchling by the swampus makes a nearby adult toraton rather annoyed. Downplayed example, as the toratons are not necessarily out for revenge, per se, they just happen to wander into Swampus territory in search of their missing baby, and unknowingly trample the Swampus nursery plants.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: A few of the more cute and harmless future critters, such as the Spinks and Desert Hoppers, are mostly nocturnal and come out at night to avoid the heat and the predators.
  • Dire Beast: Many of the creatures shown are imagined as gigantic, or at least bigger, descendants or relatives of modern-day animals:
    • snow stalker and gryken = dire mustelids
    • shag rat = dire marmot (but occupying the niche of a musk ox)
    • deathgleaner = dire bat (bigger than modern flying foxes)
    • ocean phantom = dire Portuguese man-of-war
    • toraton = dire giant tortoise
    • falconfly= dire wasp
    • rainbow squid = dire Giant Squid or Colossal Squid
  • Expy: There many species that take heavy inspiration from Dixon's earlier work, After Man: A Zoology of the Future, differing from them in only minor details.
    • Snow Stalker: Bardelot
    • Shagrat: Woolly Gigantelope
    • Gannetwhale: Vortex and Porpin
    • Cryptile: Fin lizard
    • Gryken: Pamthret
    • Scrofa: Zarander and Turmi
    • Spink: Termite Burrower
    • Great Blue Windrunner: Bootie Bird
    • Rattleback: The Grassland Rattleback is an expy of the Testadon and Spine-tailed Squirrel. The Desert Rattleback is an expy of the Rootsucker.
  • Fantastic Fauna Counterpart: Many creatures are expies of other animal species, both living and extinct, since they all fill similar ecological niches, and were subject to convergent evolution. For example, Shagrats are rodent musk oxen, Snow Stalkers are mustelid polar bears, Gannetwhales are avian walruses, Deathgleaners are mammalian hawks, Spinks are avian gophers, Babookaris are new world monkeys behaving like baboons, Carakillers are falcons acting like terror birds, Toratons are tortoise counterparts to sauropods, Flish are fish behaving like birds, Desert Hoppers are snails acting like kangaroos and Squibbons are squids acting like monkeys. The ocean phantom is basically a siphonophorae jellyfish writ large.
  • Feathered Fiend: The Carakiller. Also, while only trying to defend themselves, both the Gannetwhale and the Spitfire have very lethal defense mechanisms.
  • Flooded Future World: The 100 million years segment takes place in this sort of world, where the ice caps have melted completely and shallow seas are much larger than they are today.
  • Flying Seafood Special: The two species of flish. Most people would assume a flying fish would evolve from modern gliding species (or at least any pelagic one), but the makers decided to make it a codfish descendant.
  • Giant Flyer:
    • The Great Blue Windrunner. The sources don't seem to agree on its size; some offer a realistic approach at 3 meters (about the same size as the largest modern flying birds), but the official site states a wingspan of 15 meters, which would make flight impossible given how thin the atmosphere is at the altitudes it flies at and how narrow its wings are (though it can increase the wing area by raising its legs, which have wing feathers).
    • The deathgleaner bats are pretty big too, roughly around the size and wingspan of modern flying foxes or slightly bigger.
  • Giant Squid: The rainbow squid is a gigantic predatory squid up to thirty meters long, with extraordinary colour-changing skills, allowing it to flash like a neon street sign, mimic a shoal of silverswimmers, or turn itself nearly invisible. It's still not the top predator of its time period, however.
  • History Repeats:
    • 5 MYH, the interglacial period has ended and the icecaps have grown exponentially once more. Great herds of woolly, snow-dwelling grazers have evolved, and vicious sabre-toothed predators that hunt them as well, just as in the prior ice age.
    • 100 MYH, rising oxygen levels in the atmosphere have allowed the return of giant arthropods which existed 300 MY before the present day, and similarly concludes with a destructive flood basalt eruption just like the end-Permian extinction event.
    • 200 MYH, all the world's continents have fused back together again, creating a single vast interior desert and one immense ocean, just as it had 200 MYA.
  • Humanity's Wake: The British version is set after humanity's extinction; the American version changed it so that the human race simply left the system.
  • The Hunter Becomes the Hunted:
    • 100 million years in the future, the predator/prey roles in the Antarctic Jungle have reversed, and bugs now prey on birds instead of the other way around.
    • The Ocean Phantom preys on small aquatic creatures such as young Reef Gliders. Reef Gliders that make it to adulthood become its predator, and the Ocean Phantom requires help from Spindletroopers to fend them off.
  • Informed Species: The South American rattleback is supposed to be a rodent, but its face looks a lot more like a reptile, never mind a mammal, since it's covered in scales, has no ears or whiskers, and most glaringly of all no cheeks.
  • Irony:
    • In today's age, flying predatory birds hunt for small burrowing mammals they can carry off to eat. In the cold Kansas desert, however, it's flying predatory mammals that hunt for small burrowing birds.
    • The megasquid is a cephalopod filling the niche of an elephant, two animals known for being surprisingly intelligent. However, the megasquid itself is notably very small-brained and nowhere near as clever as the tiny Squibbons.
    • The rainforest 200 MYH (the wettest part of the new Pangaea) is centered around what is Western Sahara today.
    • The Poggle is the last placental mammal, a rodent descendant. Its homeland is Australia, which was the last continent to be colonized by placental mammals back in their heyday.
  • It Can Think: Occasionally, the extraordinary survival tactics of certain animals are examined, usually based off of preexisting animals, but pushed to new extremes.
    • The Babookaris making tools as complex as fish traps shows they are more intelligent than chimpanzees.
    • Unlike almost all birds-of-prey today, the Carakillers are strategic pack hunters like wolves, using numbers, communication, and cunning to hunt the wily Babookaris, which are too swift to catch on their own.
    • Similarly, the Sharkopaths, unlike present day sharks but more like present-day killer whales, hunt in coordinated schools, communicating with one another using bioluminescent markings. This allows them to take down very large prey, such as the twenty metre long rainbow squid, itself a very intelligent predator.
    • The squibbons are likely the ultimate example of the series, with intelligence and behaviour equivalent to great apes, including strong family bonds and tool use. It's implied that squibbons may eventually grow even more intelligent and evolve into the next sapient race.
  • Kaiju: The Toraton. Weighing 120 tonnes and 15 times the size of an elephant, the Toraton is the biggest land animal ever to live (dwarfing even the largest known dinosaur, the 90-ton Argentinosaurus).
  • Killer Rabbit:
    • The Spitfire Bird looks like a harmless orange bird, but it can shoot hot toxin from its nasal cavity.
    • The Snowstalker and Gryken are mustelids, and like their relatives from the time of humans, they are both cute and vicious. Downplayed compared to the Spitfire Bird: they are larger than the largest modern mustelid, the wolverine, and they have exposed sabre teeth which make them look scarier.
  • Last of His Kind: 100 million years in the future, nearly all mammals are extinct. The only one left is the Poggle, a tiny rodent-like animal farmed by giant spiders in mountain caves.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Sharkopaths, whose yellow bioluminescence fits them well. They're very ferocious and co-operative predators that viciously hunt and kill the more gentle Rainbow Squid. Also, one of the main problems for life in the high plateau is ultraviolet radiation, and thus both the Windrunner and the Silver Spider reflect it, looking as if glowing in blue and silver light respectively.
  • Man-Eating Plant: The Deathbottle is a huge, desert-dwelling carnivorous plant that works like a pitfall trap, allowing the rabbit-sized desert hoppers to blunder into its disguised digestive chamber, where they are impaled and subdued by the lining of poisonous spikes. It also makes a non-fatal trap to catch Bumblebeetles, which are used to transport its seeds.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Justified that convergent evolution has forced new creatures into vacated niches, and so adapted into a form that resembles a now-extinct familiar animal (whether prehistoric or from the age of man). Normally, a species in this show will look like a mix between its ancestor and the species that used to fill its ecological niche in the past.
    • Snowstalker: Smilodon + Polar Bear + Wolverine
    • Toraton: Sauropod + Tortoise
    • Squibbon: Chimpanzee/Gibbon + Squid
    • Rainbow Squid: Giant Squid + Whale
    • Carakiller: Terror Bird/Dromaeosaurid + Caracara + Cassowary
    • Rattleback: Pangolin + Armadillo + Various scavenging rodents
    • Shagrat: Musk Ox + Marmot + Capybara
    • Gannetwhale: Gannet + Penguin + Walrus
    • Cryptile Lizard: Frilled lizard + Basilisk lizard
    • Megasquid: Elephant + Squid
    • Spink: Naked Mole Rat + Quail
    • Lurkfish: Electric Eel + Crocodile
    • Babookari: Baboon + Uakari (Primates forced from the trees also echo early hominids)
    • Sharkopath: Shark + Lantern fish + Orca
    • Deathgleaner: Desert hawk + Spectral bat
    • Silver Swimmer: Fish + Planktonic Larval Crustaceans
    • Flish: Birds + Fish
    • Spitfire Bird: Bombardier Beetle + Hummingbird
    • Falconfly: Falcon + Dragonfly
    • Scrofa: Pig + Goat
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Some animals have names that are as scary as their appearance: the Sharkopath is a bioluminescent shark, the Carakiller is a flightless Feathered Fiend, and the Deathgleaner is a giant Bat Out of Hell. Also the Deathbottle, an enormous carnivorous plant, though since it can't actually move, it's more like "Names to Stay at Least Five Metres Away From at All Times".
  • Noisy Nature: Quite annoyingly, the Snowstalker is prone to roaring loudly to announce its appearance, alerting the nesting Gannetwhales to its presence, which for obvious reasons is a terrible hunting strategy. Then there is this whole other issue of a wolverine-like mustelid somehow roaring like a tiger...
  • Non-Indicative Name: Gannetwhales, being semi-terrestrial and gathering in large noisy groups on the shore to breed, are less an analogue of whales and cetaceans, and more like a seabird version of a walrus.
  • No Flow in CGI: This common problem was a reason for showing so few mammals, and having them die out in the end. Hair is hard to animate!
  • No-Sell: The Ocean Phantom is basically physically invulnerable. Being a siphonophorae colony, smashing it to tiny bits will just create new colonies springing from the parts.
  • Oh, Crap!: The Rainbow squid assaulted by Sharkopaths panics when it realizes the Sharkopaths are undeterred by its Invisibility Cloak, causing it to have an Invisibility Flicker.
  • Planimal:
    • Garden worms have photosynthesizing algae in their body appendages, making them look like a cross between a fern and a worm. Terabytes attempt to harvest this algae by cutting out chunks of the lobes where they're stored.
    • The ocean phantom has symbiotic red algae growing on its surface which provide it and its symbiotic spindletroopers with vital carbohydrates. The ocean phantom also hunts animal prey partly to fertilize the red algae growing on it.
  • Portmanteau: Boy, does this series ever love them. We have Babookaris, Bumblebeetles, Carakillers, Sharkopaths and Squibbons, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.
  • Psycho Electric Eel: The Lurkfish is a gigantic, carnivorous electric fish able to deliver shocks of up to 1200 volts (by comparison, an electric eel's shock is about 600 volts) to instantly kill or paralyze its prey.
  • Punny Name: Sharkopath, Squibbon, Carakiller, Bumblebeetle, Baboukari, Swampuss, Flish.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The slithersucker is a relatively benign example. It's a Blob Monster which tricks the megasquid into eating it, then a small portion of it infests the brain, while the rest migrate into the cephalopod's vocal sac. The slithersucker then commands the megasquid to "sneeze" onto trees, spreading its slime far and wide, with each glob becoming a new slithersucker. The leftover portion around the brain is subsequently destroyed by the megasquid's immune system.
  • Ragnarök Proofing: Completely and utterly averted. The only times it's brought up are during the Paris time lapse scene and occasional mentions of how geological processes would have long destroyed any sign of human civilization.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: The rainbow squid may seem unrealistic, but it's just an Up to Eleven version of real bio-luminescent squid. In fact, it's probably the most realistic of all the cephalopods in the show.
  • Rodents of Unusual Size: The shagrats (big as sheep!) and rattlebacks.
  • Rule of Cool: A lot of the predictions aren't especially plausible, but the series is as much about exploring the coolest and weirdest possible outcomes of evolution as it is about actually making serious predictions.
  • Running Gag: A surprising amount of creatures are described as being three meters in size, whether it be three meters long, three meters tall, or having a three meter wingspan.
  • Running on All Fours: The spink, while a bird, walks on all fours due to its subterranean lifestyle and spikes its wings into the ground with each step.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: Spindletroopers are said to grow a metre across, yet when compared to the adult reef glider — which is three metres long — only look to be a few centimetres in length. Possibly justified if the majority of 'troopers aren't fully grown.
  • See the Invisible: The rainbow squid attempts to camouflage itself from the sharkopaths by turning itself the same colour as the water. It doesn't work because the sharkopaths can still detect its bioelectrical signals.
  • Shock and Awe: The Lurkfish, a much larger and more threatening descendant of the electric catfish, with electric abilities similarly beefed up.
  • Speculative Biology: It's a "documentary" speculating on the possible future of life on Earth.
  • Spider Swarm: One of the speculative future creatures is the Silver Spider, which has a similar eusocial caste system to ants or bees.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Bear cub cries for the young Snowstalkers.
  • Super-Persistent Predator:
    • Refreshingly averted in many cases. The Snowstalker realistically flees after the Gannetwhales bombard it with their vomit, the Deathgleaners give up on attacking the baby Rattleback after its mother charges them, and the Falconfly flees after the Spitfire Bird starts squirting it with reactive chemicals. Granted, the Snowstalker does wound a Shagrat and track it down until it dies from blood loss, but this is a Real Life tactic that many predators use.
    • Played straight with the Sharkopaths, who aren't deterred by the Rainbow Squid's invisibility cloak, use their sense of electromagnetic detection to locate it, pressure it into panicking, before the school tears into it.
  • Terrestrial Sea Life: Twice. 100 MYH, a species of octopus known as the Swampus has become amphibious to avoid dangerous aquatic predators such as the lurkfish, even breeding in little pools of rainwater that form inside a certain plant. They still need to submerge every once in a while to replenish oxygen and mate though. 200 MYH, a group of squids have become fully terrestrial, producing species such as the huge lumbering megasquid, and the arboreal squibbons.
  • Threatening Shark: 200 MY in the future and they are still there! The consulting scientists state that sharks have been able to survive and evolve throughout hundreds of millions of years simply because they're the perfect killing machines and most likely will be around for a very, very long time.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • If you're a juvenile Toraton, then walking straight into a nest of amphibious squid, with a highly venomous bite, may not be such a good idea.
    • The lost baby Scrofa, that, separated from its parents, runs out into the salt desert until it dies of heatstroke. When it was already on a safe place among the rocks, at that!
  • Too Important to Walk: Every terabyte caste except the porters, which haul the other castes' members around.
  • Unspecified Apocalypse: What happened to humans is left unexplained, but apparently before we died out, there was a catastrophic ecological collapse that killed off practically all large mammals.
  • Viewers Are Goldfish: The TV adaptation's 100-million-years-from-now segment explains that all mammals but one are extinct. Then the 200-million-years-from-now segment states that all mammals are extinct by then ... and goes on to list several human-era mammal types that are no longer around, just in case viewers forgot the previous segment of the program.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Literally. The Gannetwhales regurgitate and spit their last meal at possible predators while they are incubating their eggs at the shore. (The behavior is an evolved variation on how some birds, penguins in particular, regurgitate to feed their young.)
  • Wham Line: "Adult toraton." To explain, the toraton is introduced as an elephant-sized herbivore descended from tortoises. It is then killed by a swampus. We then find out that it was only a baby. Adult toraton are the heaviest land animals ever, and have no predators.
  • Wicked Weasel: The gryken and the snowstalker are larger descendants of modern mustelids 5 MYH, turning into sabre-toothed apex predators that ambush their respective prey. The snowstalker is like a miniature polar bear with huge fangs that evolved from the wolverine, while the gryken is a descendant of the pine marten that Eats Babies. They're both presented as vicious, threatening hunters, but of course they're just animals.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In a sense. Occasionally, the series introduces Fantastic Fauna Counterparts without explaining where their analogous predecessors went. For example, the Deathgleaner is a giant diurnal predaceous bat like a bird of prey, so where did birds of prey go? We know they aren't extinct, since the Carakiller is descended from one, so why aren't there any in the Kansas desert? In another case, we see that the shallow seas are inhabited by giant pelagic sea slugs, but there are no fish to be seen, even though they clearly didn't go extinct because the subsequent epoch depicts them.
  • Why Won't You Die?: The Carakiller trying to attack the armoured Rattleback, but its scaly armour is just too tough to penetrate.

Top