AAA2023 Battle 1

Battle #1


Quetzalcoatlus vs. Acrotholus

Biome: Coastal Lowland

The Acrotholus pokes her small, triangular head through a patch of dense rhododendrons and sniffs the air cautiously. She inches forward, using her forelimbs to part the vegetation as she steps through, careful that she doesn’t step on any loose twigs. She listens carefully, her ears alert for the sounds of predators, like the swift-footed raptor, Saurornitholestes.

When she is satisfied that the coast is clear, she gives a soft chirping cry. Immediately,  five babies at about three weeks old swarm about her feet. The little ones have only just left their nest, and they are very curious about this brave new world. The Acrotholus keeps a close eye on her brood as she leads them, flittering happily from this old tree stump to that muddy puddle, towards the bank of a meandering stream. The water here is cool and refreshing, but the current is not fast enough to sweep the babies away if they fall in.

The baby Acrotholus rush to the water’s edge and begin splashing excitedly in the water. Their mother watches them as she stoops to take drink from the stream. Suddenly, a rustling sound in the forest behind her makes her turn in alarm. Her mate, a large male Acrotholus with spikes protruding from his head dome, comes running out, chirping a warning. He had been keeping a look out a little further up the riverbank.

The female barely has time to register his presence before an enormous shadow blocks out the sun. She looks up to see a huge, winged animal, at least as large as a small aircraft, passing overhead. The pterosaur, a Quetzalcoatlus, has a wingspan of eleven metres, but its flight was almost silent as it approached the family on the riverbank.

The Acrotholus pair have never seen such a creature, but they take note of its long, razor-sharp beak. This is a predator. They call out to the babies who are squeaking in terror and struggling through the deep sand on the bank. The two parents chivvy them along, desperate to move their family into the relative safety of the forest canopy.

They are not quite fast enough. The weakest of the babies has gotten its foot stuck on a tangle of twigs on the riverbank. The mother turns and sees it struggling but, before she can move, the sharp beak of the Quetzalcoatlus darts in, snapping up the young dinosaur.

The mother watches in dismay as the pterosaur flies off, swallowing the morsel of food. Slowly, she turns back to the forest, resigned to the fact that one of her offspring is gone. But she is happy she was able to save the other four. Such is life in the Cretaceous.

Quetzalcoatlus Wins!