Styracosaurus vs. Chasmosaurus

Time Period & Environment: Late Cretaceous

Written By: Jack Milligan

It is warm morning during the Late Cretaceous of what is now Dinosaur Provincial Park, in southern Alberta, Canada. It is spring, and numerous species of angiosperms, or flowering plants, are beginning to bloom, and the sun is shining across the vast coastal floodplain on the western shore of the Western Interior Seaway.

It is also mating season for the vast herds of large plant eating dinosaurs that inhabit the area. A lone male Chasmosaurus struts about on the coastal floodplain, meandering among his herd, looking for a mate. In the distance he spots a female Chasmosaurus, and he advances towards her.

He calls to her with a low bellow and lowers his head, exposing his large rectangular frill. The thin sheet of skin across his frill is packed with blood vessels, which when flushed with blood, could have created a striking and vivid display to attract females.

After several minutes of displaying, he hears an unusual call. A small subadult male Styracosaurus rushes past him in a hurry, nearly missing him. Disturbed by the commotion, he turns around to investigate. He sees a second, larger adult male Styracosaurus, rushing at full speed towards him. This Styracosaurus is full of adrenaline and is ready to fight any animal in his way for access to females.

The Chasmosaurus stands his ground, shaking his frill more aggressively, accompanied by a loud roar. The Styracosaurus comes to a full stop and watches the Chasmosaurus. The Frill of Styracosaurus is adorned with a series of large epiparietal spikes, and a large nasal horn, much larger than that of Chasmosaurus.

The Styracosaurus mock charges, and the male Chasmosaurus stumbles back, loosing its balance. It has just enough time to escape before the Styracosaurus attacks again. The Styracosaurus slams its nose into the ground, cementing his dominance.

Styracosaurus advances!!!

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