The Night Hunter
Shadows slumber as the sun goes down behind the mountainside of prehistoric Alberta, 75 million years ago. Most of the dinosaurs in the region will be settling down to sleep until the morning. But not this eight-foot long, large-eyed, slender predator that waltz through the darkening forest. This dinosaur is Troodon. Her long tail, colorful feathers, and killer claws may have one misidentifying her as her very distant relative Velociraptor, but what separates her and Raptors is her highly intelligent brain.
A full-functioning organic machine powers the small predator, giving her a new thought and a planned strategy of survival. Now the brain has provided a new thought: food. Yet a new thought conjures around her intellect: how to get food.
Bouncing around the dark forest her large owl-like eyes scan every rock and moss in for her next meal. From a distance she hears a grunts of a herd of Pachyrhinosaurs, the smaller bony-nosed cousin of Triceratops. She's seen these brutes before. They may not have the horns of their younger cousins but their heavy skulls have the strength to knock down the tallest trees and their tails are powerful enough to shatter every bone in her body. So obviously the Rhinos are off the menu.
But about the infants, her charged brain ponders. She ate newborns and eggs before, but never had the chance to try a baby Pachyrhinosaurus. Yet the infants will stay close to the parents. Adult Rhinos won't hesitate to kill anything that aims to harm their young. Adults and infants will not be for supper.
The Troodon pauses. Her strong nostrils detects a powerful, tangy stench that warns her of danger. Urine is in this area. She knows that this smelly urine is from the larger carnivore Albertosaurus. It may be a smaller cousin of the famous T-Rex but still just as dangerous. The carnivore once passed through this forest and marked it as its territory. She scurries forward. Sticking around here would be her greatest mistake.
Then her binocular vision catches a small blob move across a dead log. Five feet away she spies on a rodent gnawing away on a small red fruit, unaware of her presence. Sparks fly all around her brain. Dinner is about to be served. But she must be quick or else this critter will become fast food.
Quiet as a tomb the feathered phantom slowly encroaches the rodent's spot with each careful step. The rodent remains oblivious of its stalker creeping from behind. Her brain kicks into overtime warning her to be cautious for the slightest misstep will alert her prey.
At the right time, she pounces at the rodent. A series of small dagger-pointed teeth spring out of her opening maw. The rodent could barely flinch as her killer jaws clench around its fury body, multiple rows of teeth puncture through the tiny organs and bones. With a couple fast chomps the butchered rodent treks down into the Troodon's throat. Another successful hunt for the world's smartest night hunter