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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Valley of the Dinosaurs: Lord of the Reptiles Valley of the Dinosaurs
"Lord of the Reptiles"

Valley of the Dinosaurs #6 (Charlton)
Art and story: Fred Himes
February 1976


Greg and Katie encounter a tribal ruler who commands several ankylosaurids.


Story Summary


On a stroll through the jungle, Greg, Katie, and Digger come upon the scene of a Ceratosaurus menacing a cave-woman. They attempt to draw the carnivore away and are soon assisted by a pair of ankylosaurids. After the Ceratosaurus is driven away, they see that a tattooed man is in command of the two ankylosaurids and the woman obeys his silent bidding to mount one of the beasts and ride away with him. But the young woman appears terrified and Katie and Greg know she is actually a prisoner.


Meanwhile, John and Glump are searching for the trio, who've been gone for a long time. He meets up with them in the jungle and they explain what has happened. Together, they travel to the realm of the lord of the reptiles. John uses fire to help free the lord's captive humans and the fear of the fire drives one of the ankylosaurids to charge its master, driving him off a cliff and into a river, where he is swept away by the current.




Didja Notice?


The ankylosaurids seen on the cover of this issue and in the story itself are of the ankylosaurid family but not the most popularly known genus of it, Ankylosaurus, despite being named as Ankylosaurus in the story, as evidenced by the horn-like protrusions jutting from the sides of the skull. They may be members of one of the following genuses which are known for such protrusions: Anodontosaurus, Euoplocephalus, Pinacosaurus, Scolosaurus, or Talarurus. These are the genuses which were known at the time this story was written; others with similar features have been discovered since then as well.


The ankylosaurids are depicted with a forked tongue. This was artistic license since dinosaurs were believed to be most similar to reptiles at the time the story was written. Modern paleontologists lean towards them being more bird-like and forked tongues are unlikely.


The Ceratosaurus depicted in this story is pretty accurate, down to the four-clawed forelimbs.


When confronted by the Ceratosaurus on page 2, Digger faints.


On page 5, panel 2, the cave-woman's fur anklet is on her left leg. But it is on her right when seen elsewhere in the story.


Notice on page 6, panel 4 that Digger is dreaming of a bone.


The pterosaur seen on page 7 is a Pteranodon.


The plants growing in the foreground of panel 2, page 7 appear to be a type of cycad, known to date to the early Permian period, 280 million years ago, with many species existing in the modern day.


Page 8 describes John, Katie, Greg, Digger, and Glump walking through the dank, humid cave for hours. Apparently, they brought enough torches to keep burning that long!


On page 8, the word "yielding" is mistakenly used in place of "wielding": "Yielding its tail like a deadly club, the great horned lizard strikes."


On page 9 the ankylosaurids commanded by the lord of the reptiles are depicted with pointed teeth. Since ankylosaurids are all plant-eaters, it is unlikely they would have pointed teeth. Possibly, the lord of reptiles has used tools to chisel their teeth into that shape in order to more easily intimidate enemies.


The lord of the reptiles refers to one of his ankylosaurid pets as Tumba.


The lord of the reptiles is swept away downriver, a fate similar to that which happened to Mata-Zin in "Katie's Challenge".


The cave-woman tells John that her tribe is from the "other valley". This may be the valley of the Three Giants seen in "A Turned Turtle" and possibly the same valley mentioned in "Katie's Challenge" and "The Children of Zutra".


At the end of the story, John states that the lord of the reptiles mastered the "Ankylosaurus" with fire. But there is no evidence anywhere in the story that fire had anything to do with it! 


Unanswered Questions


What became of the lord of the reptiles? Did he survive being washed away down the river? Will he return to seek revenge?


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