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Max's Ice Age Adventure
By Logan Weinman, Jeffrey Bennett, Joan Marsh
Big Kid ScienceCopyright © 2007 Jeffrey Bennett
All rights reserved.
One morning, a group of scientists were talking about their greatest invention ever. It was the Time Machine "SK41."
Is time travel really possible?
No one knows, but it would certainly cause problems. For example, suppose you went back in time and accidentally prevented your parents from meeting. How could you then exist? Most scientists therefore doubt that time travel is possible. Of course, it's still fun to think about!
They were talking about who was going to test it out. So far, no one had come to volunteer.
Just then, Max and his good friend Tori showed up.
They immediately offered to test it out. It turned out that they were going to the time of the Ice Age.
What is an "ice age"?
An "ice age" is a time when Earth is unusually cold. Earth has had many ice ages in the past, with some much colder than others. In fact, because even the North and South poles have been ice-free for most of Earth's history, we are in some sense still in an ice age today — although no one calls it that.
The scientists packed them up with self-assembling parkas (SAPs), especially one for Max, because he was so excited to go.
When was THE Ice Age?
When everyone was cleared out of the way, Tori pulled the lever and they were off.
Although there have been many ice ages, when we speak of "the Ice Age" we usually mean the most recent cold period. This most recent Ice Age reached its peak about 20,000 years ago and ended about 10,000 years ago.
They experienced a mix of all kinds of colors as they traveled through time and space. It was a very beautiful sight, and a hint of what was to follow.
Was Earth completely frozen?
No. The Ice Age was a time when temperatures everywhere were a few degrees colder and glaciers — sheets of ice that cover land and last year-round — covered much more land than they do today. Even so, the oceans remained mostly ice-free, and you would still have been quite warm if you visited a place near the equator.
Every little snowflake glistened as if it were jewelry. The Time Machine SK41 slid to a stop on the ice. Max and Tori set up camp for the night.
So where was it frozen?
During the Ice Age, ice extended much farther from the poles than it does today. For example, glaciers more than 1,000 feet (300 meters) thick covered most of Canada and the northern United States. Did you know that the Great Lakes were carved by glaciers from the Ice Age?
In the middle of the night, Max heard a noise, and started to bark.
What was out there?
Were there people during the Ice Age?
Yes, although Tori and Max don't run into any in this story. Ice Age people did not yet live in cities and probably survived by hunting and gathering food. Near the end of the Ice Age, scarcity of food may have been one reason that people invented agriculture.
Max and Tori looked all around but they didn't see anything in sight. So they went back to sleep.
Who's afraid of Ice Age mammals?
Some Ice Age mammals were pretty scary. Large herbivores (plant-eaters), such as mammoths, mastodons, and giant sloths, could have trampled Tori and Max. Worse, large and vicious predators, including the dire wolf, the short-faced bear, and saber-toothed cats, probably would have enjoyed having them for lunch.
When they woke up in the morning, the first thing Max noticed was an ice cave with icicles above the entrance.
What about dinosaurs?
Now that's one thing they did not need to worry about. The last dinosaurs went extinct about 65 million years ago, long before the Ice Age, and long before any people, mammoths, or saber-toothed cats walked the Earth.
Max barked, and Tori immediately understood! They turned around and saw ...
Excerpted from Max's Ice Age Adventure by Logan Weinman, Jeffrey Bennett, Joan Marsh. Copyright © 2007 Jeffrey Bennett. Excerpted by permission of Big Kid Science.
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