Acrocanthosaurus vs. Baryonyx

Time Period & Environment: Mid-Cretaceous Weald Clay Formation of southeastern England. The landscape is dominated my subtropical mudflats and fluvial plains.

Written By: Jack Milligan

It is the dry season, and many of the lagoons and river channels that Baryonyx uses to hunt have dried up. Its bones are dense, allowing it to thrive in the water and prey on fish (Fabbri et al, 2022). However, during these hard times, fish would have likely migrated towards the Tethys Sea, or, like some lungfish, buried themselves within the mud inside a soft cocoon. Using it’s massive claws on its hands, the Baryonyx begins digging through the soft mud and uncovers a lungfish.

Baryonyx finds out he’s not the only predator looking for what little life remains in this once thriving ecosystem. A massive Acrocanthosaurus strolls through, desperate for food. He is more used to chasing down large sauropods, but those herds have since moved on in search of better feeding grounds.

Baryonyx is not willing to give up its quarry, and spreads out its arms, hissing at the Acrocanthosaurus. Acrocanthosaurus continues his approach, massive feet barely breaking the surface of the mud on the riverbank. Baryonyx quickly rushes Acrocanthosaurus, swiping at his face with the massive hand claws. The Acrocanthosaurusis injured, but not deterred.

Acrocanthosaurus growls, in an attempt to intimidate Baryonyx, who steps back and gets stuck in some softer mud in the middle of the channel. Hissing and swiping in defiance does little to dissuade the Acrocanthosaurus, who strikes at the neck of Baryonyx. The sharp teeth and jaws break its neck, and now the Acrocanthosaurus has enough food to survive another day.

Acrocanthosaurus advances!!!

References

Fabbri, M., Navalón, G., Benson, R.B.J. et al. Subaqueous foraging among carnivorous dinosaurs. Nature 603, 852–857 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-022-04528-0

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