Styracosaurus vs. Camarasaurus

Time Period & Environment: Late Cretaceous Dunvegan Formation of Canada. Temperate river delta on the edge of a shallow sea.

Written By:  Corwin Sullivan

The Camarasaurus is unsettled after its recent tussle. A spot above its right wrist still throbs from the blow struck by the Ankylosaurus, and the Camarasaurus limps as it forces its way through the stands of unfamiliar, deciduous trees that cover a landscape dissected into many small patches of marshy ground by the channels of a vast river delta. When necessary, the Camarasaurus wades cautiously across a channel, rarely finding the water to be more than knee-deep.

Before crossing an especially wide channel, the Camarasaurus bends its long, graceful neck to the water and drinks deeply. When it lifts its head again, however, it snorts in unease. A bizarre little four-legged dinosaur, whose head bristles with sharp horns, has emerged from the trees on the far side, and now stands across the main part of the channel on a large bar of gravel. The beast seems too small to pose much of a threat, but the Camarasaurus has never seen anything like it, and is in a wary mood. It trumpets loudly in warning.

The Styracosaurus is still recovering its equilibrium after stabbing the Mamenchisaurus in the leg and being flung into the river on the Chinese floodplain. Now it finds itself staring across another river channel at another giant that looks suspiciously similar to the Mamenchisaurus, albeit stockier and not so long-necked, and is making strange, menacing noises. The Styracosaurus considers retreating, but the Camarasaurus is already advancing into the river with its long, deliberate strides. It moves, the Styracosaurus notes, with a distinct limp. Sensing that it may well be able to eliminate the threat posed by the large dinosaur, and aggressive in the hormonal frenzy of mating season, the Styracosaurus moves to the spot that the Camarasaurus seems to be heading for, and backs up a couple of metres.

As the Camarasaurus approaches the far bank, it enters the deepest part of the channel, and its massive belly is now in the cool water. Seeing the Styracosaurus still hanging about, the Camarasaurus makes up its mind to stomp the spike-headed runt if it won’t back off further. The instant the Camarasaurus plants its front feet on the gravel, however, the Styracosaurus attacks with a sudden, purposeful ferocity that the Camarasaurus has never before seen from any creature but the largest of theropods. The Styracosaurus runs forward, and seems about to sprint past the front legs of the Camarasaurus and into the water, but at the last moment turns and drives the lance-like horn on its snout into the limb the Ankylosaurus wounded previously. The Camarasaurus bellows in agony as the Styracosaurus jerks its horn free. Even though its hindquarters are still in the channel, the Camarasaurus flails at the Styracosaurus with the claws on its forefeet, blood gushing from its right forelimb. The Styracosaurus nimbly dodges, and when the Camarasaurus sets its forefeet on the gravel again, its injured limb buckles under the weight of its body. The Camarasaurus falls forward, and before it can try to heave itself back up, the Styracosaurus springs forward and thrusts its horn deep into the base of its neck. In minutes, the Camarasaurus is dead.

Styracosaurus advances!!!

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