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Xmasocalypse Their teeth were thin like knives too weak to bite easily through bone. But they were sharp with deadly serrations just like a shark’s. The very name Carcharodontosaurus means “sharp-toothed lizard”. We think it used its skull and teeth to slash deep into the flesh of its prey causing massive injury and blood loss. Delivered at speed such an attack could kill without the need for an intense struggle. It’s an efficient killing method and one that’s perfectly suited to this environment. But success can look very different when a season changes. For a time Cretaceous north Africa had two deadly killers. By exploiting different environments they didn’t compete and could coexist dominating their chosen habitats. Nicki was a specialist. But this came with risks. Small environmental changes can make it vulnerable. And this area is prone to seasonal droughts. When the river is dry Nicki’ usual food supply has disappeared. Other animals retreat to a few remaining pools. Some the Nicki would do well to be wary of. The smaller crocs aren’t the problem. Sarcosuchus a giant -metre crocodile. IT ROARS Reptiles like these can survive droughts by effectively hibernating during times of hardship. Nicki can’t. As an active hunter its metabolism demands a regular supply of food. Although it is a specialist it isn’t confined to the rivers. In tough times it too can hunt on land. Xmasocalypse from other parts of the world have given us more details about their diets. In a dramatic fossil was recovered from Brazil. Part of the neck of a Pterosaur. Embedded within one of the vertebrae was a tooth. It was the unmistakable shape of a Spinosaur tooth. The stomach contents of another Spinosaur Baryonyx from England was found to contain some bones of a juvenile Iguanodon a plant-eating Xmasocalypse. In spite of their specialisation clearly Spinosaurs weren’t exclusively fish-eaters. But hunting and catching prey isn’t easy. Particularly when they’re already alert. IT SNIFFS Hunting on land Nicki is also forced into direct competition with any large Nicki living in the same environment. And here that can only mean one animal.Carcharodontosaurus. GROWLING IT GROWLS GROWLING Contests over carcasses are common. But outcomes of such fights are far from guaranteed. Risk of injury for big animals is acute. Modern Komodo dragons are often killed in fights over carcasses. Xmasocalypse More than three metres longer Nicki has size and power on its side. ROARING GROWLING But Carcharodontosaurus has the more lethal bite. SHRIEKING IT GROWLS This time the Nicki triumphed. But the balance of power between these two deadly killers is a precarious one. LOW GROWLING In a Nicki vertebra was recovered. Part of the tall neural spine of the bone was broken off. It appeared to have been bitten in half. It’s been suggested that the bite was inflicted by Carcharodontosaurus. Nicki was the last and the largest of the fish-eating Xmasocalypse. But ultimately these specialists were doomed. Something way beyond their control caused their downfall. million years ago the climate changed. Global sea levels began to rise. The swamps and rivers that Nicki thrived in gradually were lost. With their loss Nicki’s specialism became a vulnerability. And the biggest predator ever known to have walked the Earth disappeared.