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THE DEATH OF AN EOHADROSAUR: A LAME STORY (Part I)



Hello again:

Here is a lame blurb I wrote about an average morning on the "Clovery
Floodplain" -- an eohadrosaur is killed by a pack of three dromaeosaurs, but,
of course, my story doesn't say that.  The story is probably full of
scientific inaccuracies -- I am just posting this here to see what people
think; I don't hope that professionals will blow up in my face.  :) Instead
using scientific names to refer to individual species, I use dumb nicknames
like in RAPTOR RED -- it's a lame story, so what do you expect?  If you can't
figure out what a certain animal is, just ask.  

And, ta-da, here is the first section of my lame story (so the list-processor
doesn't cut of the ending):

===========================================================

It was dawn on the Cloverly Plain.  Light peeked in over the horizon and
crawled across the gigantic green carpet, the floodplain, put the nocturnal
creatures to sleep and awakening the diurnal ones.  The world became active
with the movements of the dominant land creatures of the time, the dinosaurs.
 Great herds of tenonts began moving, browsing for greens to fill their
bellies and satisfy their relatively low metabolisms.  The emu-sized seekers,
the omnivorous microvenators,  each one solitary began roaming the forest for
small vertebrates, carrion, fruit, various greens, and nests of eggs that
could be robbed;  some of the seekers gathered around the ponds and streams,
searching for mollusks and fish that could easily be caught.  Harpys moved in
small groups, running like ostriches across the vast open plains, chasing
down small vertebrates, and eating plants here and there.  The elephantine
titans and astros browsed from the treetops, the earth shaking beneath their
footsteps.  The tiny, long-legged windies and small herds of the rare dawn
duckbills foraged in the shade of the great trees, under the canopy of the
forest.  The slow, massive, armored nodes and hops traveled solitary, and
browsed out in the open because they feared no predators.  Visible to all
herbivores, a pair of megators rest and groom each other under a primitive
deciduous tree, full and drowsy after their last meal.

The entire world was at peace.  

The sun begins rising at a fast rate, lighting up the world quickly.
 Streams, ponds, and lakes reflect the light and shine like great liquid
mirrors.  The brightness of the water would hurt mammalian eyes -- all
mammals were nocturnal and sensitive to light anyway -- but the keen eyes of
dinosaurs do not seem to notice it.  A small group of dawn duckbills, a harem
led by a male and including juveniles, slowly and cautiously walk out from
the safety of the forest.  They are all thirsty, and need to single-handedly
consume the water that their green food could not supply.  But the nearest
water hole is hundreds of yards away, out in the open, and it will be risky.

Dawn duckbills are new arrivals in this world, the Cloverly.  Duckbilled
dinosaurs were rare and primitive at this point, having evolved not long ago
in Europe.  They had just migrated from Europe to North America and Asia
through land bridges.  Although the duckbills were very advanced in the
present-day fauna with their specialized beaks and dental batteries, they
were so far not very successful, and rare herbivores with rather small
populations.  They were competitors with the already well-established group
known as iguanodonts.  Iguanodonts had already taken the niche of large,
herding, low-level browsing herbivores worldwide, and werent about to give
their position up.  Iguanodonts did not eat exactly the same plants as
duckbills, but iguanodonts seemed to make it because they had better defense
-- their deadly thumb-claws.  Duckbills had very little defense, and the best
they could do against predators was bite, kick, or run.  Since duckbills were
so vulnerable to predators, they could never increase their populations
enough so that individual duckbills could be protected in numbers.

Yes, it would be very risky.  Very dangerous.  They would be risking their
lives just for a sip of wonderful water.

But even duckbills, even though they lacked complicated brains, had to follow
the rules of survival.  You have to eat, drink, and reproduce, and avoid
extensive predation as well.  This was a small group of healthy, yet
relatively defenseless animals -- they couldnt risk losing another
reproductive member to predators.  But if they have to drink, they have to
drink.

The leader of the group, the male, rumbles to the group of a dozen duckbills,
and they start walking into the open, across the flat, open land, towards the
waterhole.  They progress in a straight line, like ducks, with the male and
his favorite female in the front, the youngsters in the middle, and the other
females at the back.  The females use their long, duck-like snouts to push
the stubborn juveniles along, and the duckbills moo and rumble and honk to
each other.

They are almost there.

The water hole is not far away now.  There are other plant-eaters gathered
there already.  A group of astros are there, some lower their heads and drink
while others look out for danger.  A herd of iguanodonts browse near the
water hole, also wary of danger.

The other herbivores seem to be rather cautious now.  They sense danger.
 They seem no longer concentrated on their drinking and feeding -- they begin
to, very slowly, gather together into tightly-knit masses, and they slowly
move away from the water hole.  Very slowly.  

The duckbills arent sure what the commotion is.  The male looks around, and
all his keen eyes see is a motionless landscape, the air silent, the water
still.  As if the entire world was frozen.  

Suddenly, the male hears one of the juveniles screeching loudly, her cries
piercing the air.  He quickly looks, and sees the females running back to the
forest, pushing the other juveniles along, and without even pondering he
rises up onto two legs and, sprinting, follows them.

>>END OF SECTION ONE<<