But when Spookie told them what she’d discovered, the miners nodded knowingly. They’d known perfectly well the Monstosaurus was down there. They’d carefully dug the coal from around it and left the bones to prop up the roof.
But they hadn’t said anything about it to people on the surface because they were afraid that, if management got to know, it would disrupt coal production, and the pit would have to close and they’d all lose their jobs.
But that’s what happened anyway, and the Monstosaurus lay hidden in the darkness of the shut-down pit, and nobody knew it was there except the miners.
Now, as you know, cows have four stomachs, because grass isn’t very digestible and has to be dealt with in stages. Basically you feed it to bacteria and then you eat the bacteria.
The Monstosaurus had eight stomachs, because when you’re big you can’t turn your nose up at any sort of food.
It ate enormous quantities of plants—mostly tough poisonous spiky plants with triangular leaves, because that’s all there was. Then it had to eat things which would eat the plants, then things to eat those things, until it had a stomach entirely given over to T rexes.
The Monstosaurus liked to gulp down a couple of plump T rexes every morning for breakfast. It preferred T rex to Stegosaurus because a T rex slid down easily (provided it kept its mouth closed), but a Stegosaurus had horns in funny places.
There, in the darkness of the eighth stomach, the T rexes sat and munched away on what came past. When they grew too old and stupid for it, the Monstosaurus would try and cough them up. (Well, how would you fancy a tummy full of silly old T rexes?)
That was the fate of so many of them, that every T rex ever found has, like as not, been swallowed and sicked-up again. Sometimes more than once.
But sometimes they died down there. And that’s where Spookie found their bones—in Gallery 8—all piled up higgledy-piggledy.
Now Spookie is good at jigsaw puzzles and she was soon putting T rex skeletons together at a blazing rate. She wouldn’t promise they didn’t contain parts from more than one animal. But no one cared. Soon there was a T rex for every museum in the country that wanted one.
The money they got from selling them paid for Dyspepsia and her scientists to go on digging for another five miles.
By then they were in Gateshead, and there was no going back.
…to be continued.