The wind-swept sand dunes are an inhospitable place for most animals, but for the small dromaeosaur, Linheraptor, they are the perfect place to hunt. In rare pockets of habitable area reside small reptiles and mammals that will make a delicious meal. Though it is well adapted to stalk the sands, its dusty brown feather coat blending into the landscape, the Linheraptor must occasionally move to cooler areas. One of these areas is a small, rocky canyon with a bubbling stream and vegetation. Here the Linheraptor finds shade, a cool drink, and plentiful prey in the form of small animals or occasionally larger animals drawn to the water.
As the Linheraptor approaches the canyon today, it notices footprints in the damp sandy soil along the water’s edge. These are relatively large footprints, so the Linheraptor moves forward with caution.
These tracks are from the 6m long Archosaurus, who drinks from the stream just around the bend from the approaching Linheraptor. Rounding the bend, the Linheraptor sees the intruder and snarls in an attempt to intimidate the much larger animal. The Archosaurus turns at this sound and growls back menacingly.
The Linheraptor feels confident in the outcome of this encounter. Its opponent is larger but moves slowly. Dashing to the left, the agile and quick Linheraptor manages to outflank the large Archosaurus and leaps onto its side. Using large claws and teeth, the Linheraptor cuts deeply into the side of the Archosaurus. But the Archosaurus is surprisingly powerful and shakes the smaller attacker off its back. With surprising speed, the Archosaurus turns and tackles the Linheraptor, closing its hooked jaw around the dromaeosaur’s neck as it struggles to its feet. Though it is not a fast runner, the Archosaurus is an ambush hunter and able to use a burst of speed to catch prey in sudden snap of its jaws. Under the crushing force of the Archosaurus’ jaws, the Linheraptor soon stops struggling. At last, the Archosaurus can enjoy a fulfilling meal.