Carnotaurus vs Patagotitan
100 million years ago, in the coastal mangroves of what will become modern day Egypt, Carcharodontosaurus prowls through the maze of shallow channels and dense vegetation. The satisfaction of her successful defeat of Ouranosaurus has worn off, and she is on the hunt for more prey to glut her hunger. Unfortunately, she shares her ecosystem with other large predators like Spinosaurus, and competition is steep, and prey is alert for threats.
Working her way through the thick foliage of the mangroves, Carcharodontosaurus keeps her eyes sharp and nostrils flared, trying to catch a hint of something large enough to make a satisfying meal for a 12 meter long theropod. A breeze rolls through the mangroves off the ocean, carrying with it a surprisingly strong scent of blood. Carcharodontosaurus’s head swivels, raising up to catch more of the smell, turning towards the direction from whence it came.
She follows her nose through the mangrove, through winding channels of shallow water, as the stench of blood gets stronger and stronger. An opening in the tangle of trees ahead reveals the source; a strange creature keeled on its side atop the interlocking tree roots. It is smaller than the sauropods native to this ecosystem, with a long line of spikey osteoderms running down either side of its back. The blood that had caught Carcharodontosaurus’s attention is pouring from a large gash through one of the stegosaur’s eyes, though a rusty crust of coagulated scab has started to form.
This Kentrosaurus, arrived from 50 million years in the past and bearing the wounds of her previous battle, lies utterly still as Carcharodontosaurus approaches. Sidling closer to the prone form of the Kentrosaurus, Carcharodontosaurus ponders her options for making an easy meal of the other animal. As one of the largest apex predators of her ecosystem, she rarely stoops to scavenging to sate her hunger (Kane et al. 2016). However, with what appears to be the fresh corpse of a perfectly serviceable (if strange) prey animal before her, Carcharodontosaurus sees no reason not to take advantage of her good fortune. She approaches the supine Kentrosaurus, pausing cautiously outside the reach of its limbs. Despite her proximity, the stegosaur does not so much as twitch. Caution no longer necessary, Carcharodontosaurus bends her head over the exposed belly of Kentrosaurus and opens her jaws wide.
A blur of motion in the corner of her eye, the bright pain of sharp a object striking the side of her skull, and Carcharodontosaurus’s vision goes black.
As the enormous predator’s body slumps into the water, Kentrosaurus yanks her tail spike out of its head with effort. When she had laid down to rest and heal her wounds, she had known she risked attack. She was lucky to have woken when she did, and luckier still that Carcharodontosaurus was insufficiently cautious in its approach. Rolling to her feet, Kentrosuaurus disappears back into the mangroves in search of a better place to heal, away from the hungry eyes of would-be predators.