The flashback in the movie was originally going to focus on Manny's conflict with his first family. However, Queen Latifah pitched the idea of the flashback in the film to center more on Ellie's origins.
The two sea reptiles that chase the Herd throughout the film are named Cretaceous and Maelstrom: Cretaceous, an ichthyosaur, is the purple crocodilian, while Maelstrom, the stout green reptile, is a pliosaur. There was initially going to be a third predator, who appeared in some early designs as a small axolotl-like creature, but it was cut out. The back story for the villains is that they were frozen millions of years ago and kept in suspended movement.
As an additional marketing ploy a special "anti-cell" spot was created with Sid complaining to the audience about a ringing cellular phone. The same was done for Brother Bear (2003), Robots (2005) and I, Robot (2004).
The species of deer shown in the crowds is based off two different species of extinct deer: Hoplitomeryx, which had a distinctive horn on its nose, and Megaloceros Savini, which was a smaller species of Irish Elk known for its long antlers.
Surprisingly, animals similar to the horned beavers did exist. Ceratogaulus was a horned rodent, with the horns likely used for defence. However, it was not closely related to beavers, belonging to a separate and now-extinct family, and lacked the large, flat tail which it has in the movie. It more closely resembled a marmot or gopher.