MamenchisauruS vs. Styracosaurus
Time Period & Environment: Late Jurassic Shaximiao Formation of Sichuan Province, China
Written By: Jack Milligan
A large Mamenchisaurus stands on the edge of a meandering riverbank in the Late Jurassic of what will become Yunnan Province, China. The landscape as far as the eye can see is a vast expanse of subtropical marshes and vegetated river systems.
The Mamenchisaurus is surveying his territory from a sandy point bar along a river. Behind him is a dense forest that makes up a considerable portion of the floodplain he calls home. Many dinosaurs and other animals often frequent the area for a drink.
As the Memenchisaurus stretches his legs, a strange rumbling noise grabs its attention. Over the trees, Mamenchisaurus notices a bull male Styracosaurus, a stranger to this environment. Styracosaurus is running, letting out a loud and panicked screech, very much in distress. The Mamenchisaurus stares, as he has never seen another dinosaur like this before.
Mamenchisaurus moves off to the side of the point bar. Through the trees, Styracosaurus is being pursued by a Yanchuanosaurus. Styracosaurus is unfamiliar with Yanchuanosaurus, but the predator is similar in size to Styracosaurus’ Cretaceous contemporary, Daspletosaurus. Mamenchisaurus stands firm, as if the Yanchuanosauruswill keep its attention on the Styracosaurus. Suddenly, a second Yanchuanosaurus rushes in from the side, sending Styracosaurus towards the riverbank.
Mamenchisaurus is startled and begins to run. The Styracosaurus is almost trampled but manages to swing its head into the leg of Mamenchisaurus, jabbing it with its long nasal horn. Mamenchisaurus is thrown off balance and falls into the river channel, with Styracosaurus still attached by its horn. Styracosaurus is thrown off and into the river by the massive sauropod, just barely escaping as it crashes in the water, swimming downriver. The hungry Yanchuanosaurus close in on the fallen sauropod, ready to feast.