Since the annual arrival of the large Triceratops herd, scientists at TimeBase 67 have noticed another related natural phenomenon – a spike in the number of dinosaurs being snatched from the shoreline by giant marine lizards.
Many people are surprised to learn that during the time of the dinosaurs some of the largest reptiles on Earth were in fact in the sea. TimeBase 67 is built near an inlet that runs out into the warm shallow Western Interior Seaway, which separates what will become the modern-day western and eastern USA. Abundant in these waters are marine lizards known as mosasaurs. One enormous species in particular – Prognathodon – is quite capable of taking a stranded dinosaur or one that strays too close to the water’s edge.
TimeBase marine scientists rarely see Prognathodon swim into the inlet’s waters – only one six-metre-long male has been spotted there recently. But as the Triceratops arrived, several more adults and sub-adults were recorded patrolling the shores. An adult Triceratops is too large for a Prognathodon to tackle, but some of the juveniles are vulnerable and there have been recent field reports of three being dragged out to sea.
Since the migration is an annual event, it suggests the older marine lizards ‘remember’ this potential food bonanza and pass this on to the younger ones. When the time comes, they gather in the inlet to hunt. Scientists have also noticed that the local fauna very rarely drink at the inlet, opting instead for nearby rivers and lakes. This could be because the water is brackish, but they may also have ‘learnt’ to avoid Prognathodon attacks.
One of the huge observation windows in TimeBase 67’s Lookout has westward views over the inlet, and visitors have also described seeing Prognathodon near the shoreline. To date, no guest has witnessed an actual attack, but it’s probably only a matter of time before somebody does – visit the base yourself, and you might just be the first!
Book your tickets here for Dinosaurs in the Wild tours to TimeBase 67.