Imagine a land of sand and dirt,
With scattered trees and ferns.
Small rivers and ponds litter the land
And feed the life that thrives here.
From the smallest of mammals to the largest of dinosaurs,
The root of life is all around.
Many dinosaurs intermingle throughout the land.
Packs hunt herds, herds defend their young.
All evolved to thrive here in the land of Gowanda.
Now we shall find a family of dinosaurs.
Between a stream and a clump of trees,
There rests a nest full of eggs.
One begins to shiver and tremble,
As the hatchling begins to emerge.
Sharp, tiny claws poke through the shell.
As she climbs out of her egg,
Her mother wakes from her mid-day slumber
To watch her hatchlings emerge.
This new mother is feathered at her arms and tail.
With a back covered in dinofuzz.
Sharp claws found on fingers and toes,
One unusually long claw decorates each foot.
Numerous curved teeth are seen in the dino’s mouth.
From hatchling to adult she will care for her young.
After one egg hatches, the other hatchlings are freed.
They will gain the strength to roam the nest after their first meal.
These hatchlings grow fast and are natural hunters.
Within a few years our hatchling will leave her family behind.
She’s an adult identified by her unique scent and sounds.
She will find her mate, a strong, healthy male.
He wears beautiful feathers of bright colors that catch her eye.
He’s the perfect dinosaur, they will be mated for life.
Together they hunt an adult Protoceratops,
As the rest of the herd flees from their presence.
Together they are an unstoppable force for these herbivores.
Without their families around, our hunters are vulnerable
To the much bigger Gorgosaurus who smells the fresh kill.
If they stayed to fight the approaching beast,
Their combined strength would fail causing them to perish.
They leave their meal behind, saddened.
She needs to keep her energy high.
She will soon lay a clutch of her very own.
For now they search for a new home,
Where other carnivorous mothers gather.
As night falls the pair settles for rest.
Before dipping into restful slumber
They groom each other to rid
Each other of parasites and dirt.
She will expose her weak spots to him.
It’s the raw form of trust between these prehistoric animals.
The pair finally drifts to sleep as the moon rises above Gowanda.
Dreams full of fresh prey, safe nesting grounds, and cool water
Fill her sleep with peace and happiness.
The sounds of birds and the light of the sunrise
Rips her out of her restful state.
Hunger nips at the couple, they begin a new hunt.
He catches the scent trail of a lone Protoceratops.
An easy meal for these carnivores.
They hunt and engorge on the fresh meat in peace.
Another groom later and it’s already midday.
She can no longer travel, her nest will be built here and now.
Like her mother, she failed to reach the safety of numbers.
Within a few days she lays her first clutch with her mate’s protection
And the life cycle begins anew.
Just like her mother, she will nurture the eggs and the hatchlings.
Just like herself they will one day leave to find and make new families.
This is the life and cycle of these feathered hunters.
They thrive in this Cretaceous world.
Written by: Fane Star