Dino Isle Chapter 6: Resupply and Reunion

The valley echoed with the crash of trees and the cries of the two beasts.

A four-legged dinosaur with dual rows of plates and spikes running down its back was facing off against a large two-legged therapod with three-clawed forelimbs.

“Ok, Nick, you focus on that Kentosaurus and I’ll get video of the Megalosaurus,” directed Charlie.


They stayed still; they weren’t directly in the arena, but they were close enough to the fight that they might not have been able to get away in time if the predator decided to go after smaller prey. The Megalosaurus stomped and roared, while the Kentosaurus bellowed back and swung its tail. The Megalosaurus charged; it tried to get a bite on the side of the Kentosaurus, but its back plates made that impossible. Meanwhile the Kentosaurus tried to fight back with its tail, but the angle wasn’t right and the spikes on the end got nowhere near the predator. The Kentosaurus did have large spikes coming out of its forelimbs that stopped the Megalosaurus from circling behind, so it broke its hold and backed off.

The two squared off again; this time the Kentosaurus turned as the Megalosaurus approached and scratched it in the face with its tail. The Megalosaurus screamed and withdrew, but not before lashing out with its claws and leaving a couple shallow scratches on the Kentosaurus’s shoulder.

Tag, you’re it!” said Nick in a high-pitched voice. Charlie giggled.

The Kentosaurus’s wound was not bad, but clearly a shock. The Megalosaurus took advantage of this, lunging in to bite at it. The Kentosaurus feebly tried to fight it off, but its tail spikes bounced off the predator’s own very short dorsal spines. A few more chomps and the fight was clearly over.

“Wow,” said Charlie, as they hiked away, “I know we’ve seen a lot of these fights, but they’re all so intense.”

“Yeah,” replied Nick. “We’ve been here almost a month now, but we’re still seeing new species. By the way, what do you know about those two?”

“Well… Kentosaurus was a stegosaurid, obviously. Herbivore. They were around in the mid to late Jurassic. Same thing for the Megalosaurus. It was actually one of the first dinosaurs to be discovered and properly described. You should have seen the early reconstructions, from the 1800’s, they were very different from what we just saw!”

“That’s interesting,” said Nick, “the late Jurassic? Many of the dinosaurs we’ve seen are clearly related to ones that were around in the late Cretaceous, which makes sense if their ancestors survived and have been evolving here since then. But the Jurassic?”

“Yeah, it is weird,” said Charlie. “You know, dinosaurs were around for way longer than they’ve been extinct. Stegosaurus and T-rex were farther apart in time than T-rex is from us.”

“So how could these be here? Any thoughts?” asked Nick.

“Well… maybe some kind of convergent evolution,” theorized Charlie. “That’s when two animals that are not closely related end up looking similar because they are in the same role, doing the same kind of thing. So that would mean that wasn’t really a Kentosaurus and a Megalosaurus, but another stegosaurid and therapod that just happened to evolve to look similar.”

“Yeah, it could be something like that,” admitted Nick,”but these aren’t the first ones we’ve seen. For example, there’s that T-rex, and I’m not sure whether all those sauropods we’ve seen were ones around in the late Cretaceous. I really think one of them was an actual Brachiosaurus. And a lot of them are only here in ones and twos, not enough to sustain a whole species for 65 million years.”

“It is strange,” said Charlie.

They walked on in silence for a while, pondering the mysteries of Dino Isle. Some small animals skittered to get out of their way, and the two explorers idly took pictures of them as they went.

As they approached camp Charlie mentioned one thing that had clearly been on his mind. “Nick, we have learned a lot here, but there is clearly a whole lot more to learn. I’m still a little homesick, but I’d like to stay a bit longer if we can. The only problem is I was checking our supplies, and remembering what we had back on the boat, and… I’m not sure we can stay much longer. Were you thinking we’d have to go home soon? I wouldn’t like that but I’d like it better than starving I think.”

They had cleared the trees and started climbing the loose gravel path up to their camp, carefully walking up the camouflage steps they had installed weeks before. Nick smiled. “Oh, I know, I’ve been checking them too. Actually with only what we’ve got on hand, we would have to start heading out in a day or two to make it to the nearest port, and even then our fuel is getting a little low. But that’s why I made some calls, and if I got the timing right they should be answered right… about… now.”

They paused and were still for a minute; the sounds of the forest below had died down too. Within moments they heard a low thrumming sound coming from across the island. It gradually got louder, and soon they heard it getting louder and closer, until they could see a large helicopter coming their way.

The two explorers started waving their arms. The helicopter flew over them, close enough to have clearly see them but high enough to clear the crater rim.

“That’s the first part of my surprise for you, buddy. Let’s go meet them down by the beach.”

Some time later they had made the climb down to the beach. The helicopter had parked on the large clear space they had used as their first camp over a month ago, and two familiar figures were unloading crates and tanks.

“John! Lily! Oh man I can’t believe it! Nick it’s John and Lily!” cried Charlie. “This has to be the second part of your surprise, right?”

“Yes it is. I knew you’d like it! And the third is they’ve brought enough supplies that we can use the boat a lot more and stay about another month.

“Charlie! Nick! Hi guys!” yelled Lily, the young helicopter pilot.

“I saw some dinosaurs!!” exclaimed John.

Nick and the three siblings had a lot to catch up on, so they took turns talking and unloading supplies. When they were done they sat down to a late lunch on the beach with some fresh food from the chopper.

“Really? A Megalosaurus and a Kentosaurus?” asked John.

“Yes! For real! The Megalosaurus won that one. He’s not going to be hungry for a while,” said Charlie.

“So Lily,” asked Nick, “when did you learn to fly one of these?”

“You’ve been gone a while Nick,” she said. “I’m really good at it!”

“Yeah, so good to almost crash!” laughed John.

Lily gave him a mean look. “Come on guys, be nice,” said Nick. “Lily did a great job flying here and landing on this little beach, and it’s great to see both of you. Now, how are the dogs? Is Lucy still crazy?”

They shifted topics from large dinosaurs to small mammals for a while. Lily was excited to talk about a friend’s cat she had met too.

After that conversation died down Charlie thought of another question: “So how long will you guys be here? I guess someone probably wants the helicopter back, but there are some places that would be good to scout with it.”

“We can stay a couple days. We have overnight bags in the chopper still and we can stay in your camp if you have room,” said Lily

“Yeah! And see some more dinosaurs!” said John.

“But then we have to go back. You should have enough supplies for 3 or 4 more weeks here, but after that you probably have to head back.”

“That sounds alright,” said Nick. “There is a lot more to see and do here, but we do have to get back some time. I think if we get to scout the island a bit more with the helicopter while you’re here, we can find some good places for future expeditions to check out at least. Maybe we’ll even come with them, huh?”

The rest of the afternoon was spent hauling supplies. Some went on the boat, but most they had to carry up over the crater rim to their base camp. John and Lily were duly impressed by the view, as well as the precautions the explorers had taken to avoid dinosaurs getting to the camp or through the narrow gap.

As the sun went down they got settled in for the night. Despite his earlier concerns about other visitors to the island, Nick lit a small campfire. “After all,” he reasoned, “if they didn’t know we were here before, that helicopter definitely made it clear.”

John and Charlie excitedly were discussing all the dinosaurs that had been seen – the ones John had seen for the first time that day, and the ones Charlie had seen over the past month.

Lily then described a corner of the island they’d gone over which was different from the rest. “Most of this island is igneous rock from a big volcano, but some of it looks like it got lifted up and some sedimentary rock exposed – shale, sandstone, something like that.”

“Might be worth a look if you think you can get us close,” said Nick.

“Oh, you could probably walk there from here, but it might take a while. We’ll point it out in the chopper tomorrow.”

Eventually, though, it was time for the siblings to go to bed. As Charlie and John went in to get ready, Lily turned around to talk to Nick alone for a minute.

“By the way, were you guys trying to talk to us on the radio?” she asked.

“Huh? No, not today, Charlie didn’t know you were coming and I was with him looking at more dinosaurs.”

“Oh. That’s weird. We thought we heard someone talking on one of the air traffic frequencies on the way in, but it suddenly went silent when I tried to talk to them.”

“Huh. That is weird. You know I’ve had the feeling we’re not alone here, but that’s the strongest evidence I’ve actually had so far,” said Nick.

With that it was time to call it a night.