|“|| “I’ve never seen them do anything like this. Not to three armed men.”|
— Nathaniel Taylor doubting tree darters’ involvement in deaths of his soldiers (“Instinct”)
Tree darters (Reptilia chordata) are a kind of prehistoric snake that inhabits the region around Terra Nova. They live in nests up in trees. They show aggressive behavior when they feel their nests or themselves are threatened. They fall onto their prey by the dozens and attack.
In the episode “Instinct,” three soldiers, including Lieutenant Okuda and Private Gillers, were killed in the jungle near Marker 24 Alpha. From the marks on their bodies, Elisabeth Shannon deduced that they had been attacked from above. Based on that observation, Malcolm Wallace suspected that the men had been killed by tree darters. Nathaniel Taylor, however, was skeptical about the theory.
When Jim Shannon found a claw on one of the soldiers’ bodies, Malcolm realized their deaths had not been caused by tree darters since Reptilia chordata has no claws. It was later discovered that the soldiers had been killed by Malcolmus pterosauria.