Velociraptor vs. Sinosauropteryx
Time Period & Environment: Late Cretaceous Djadokhta Formation of Mongolia. Semi-arid and dune environment interspersed with small bodies of freshwater.
Written By: Emily Bamforth
The Sinosauropteryx scratches despondently at a patch of dry red sand with a clawed foot. It’s hot and he is thirsty. He feels a little overdressed in this dry heat – his lustrous feathery coat of reddish feathers is designed for a shady temperate forest. His long red-and-white striped tail helped him to blend in with the shadows of the trees amongst the ferns, cycads, and horsetails as he hunted lizards and insects. He doesn’t like this dry expanse of sandy dunes. There is nothing to eat. Although he has seen a small herd of Protoceratops plod by, he knows that even these German shepherd-sized dinosaurs are too big to count as prey for this cat-sized theropod.
He doesn’t realize that he is being watched.
The pack of Velociraptors has kept a motionless vigil of the Sinosauropteryx since they spotted him an hour or so earlier. Unlike the compsognathid dinosaur, these dromaeosaurids are right at home among the shifting sands and dry heat. The alpha female gives a tiny flick of her upturned snout, and the muscles along the feathered bodies of her packmates tense in anticipation. These turkey-sized dinosaurs may not be large, but they are voracious predators. They have to be tough to survive in such a harsh environment.
Suddenly seeming to sense the danger, the Sinosauropteryx looks up. Some instinct tells him to run, and he takes off across the dunes as fast as his long, agile legs will carry him. The Velociraptors erupt from their hiding place and take off in pursuit. Their rod-like tails whip around, allowing them to turn on a dime, low to the ground, easily outmaneuvering their quarry.
The Sinosauropteryx makes a valiant effort, but he is hopelessly outnumbered. Instead of the firm forest floor he’s used to, his feet sink into the sand, hampering his escape. The Velociraptors close in, grateful for such an easy meal.