A fossil skeleton of a dinosaur called Sinosauropteryx, preserved in volcanic ash, was discovered in Liaoning, China, in 1996. Interestingly, the fossil included a pattern of fine lines surrounding the skeletal bones. Some paleontologists interpret the li

Essay topics: A fossil skeleton of a dinosaur called Sinosauropteryx, preserved in volcanic ash, was discovered in Liaoning, China, in 1996. Interestingly, the fossil included a pattern of fine lines surrounding the skeletal bones. Some paleontologists interpret the lines as evidence that Sinosauropteryx had feathers . However, critics have opposed the idea that Sinosauropteryx was a feathered dinosaur, citing several reasons.

First, the critics points out that the fine lines may not even represent functional structures of a living dinosaur, but rather structures that were formed after the animal's death. After the animal died and was buried in volcanic ash, its skin may have decomposed into fibers . The skin fibers then became preserved as lines in the fossil; the lines were misinterpreted as evidence of feathers.

Second, even if the fine lines are remains of real structures of a Sinosauropteryx, scientistscannot tell with certainty what part of the dinosaur's anatomy the structureswere. Many dinosaurs had frills, ornamental fan-shaped structures growing outof some parts of their bodies. Some of the critics argue that the linessurrounding the skeleton are much more likely to be fossilized remains offrills than remains of feathers.

A third objectionis based on the fact that the usual functions of feathers are to help animals fly or regulate their internal temperature. However, the structures represented by the lines in the Sinosauropteryx fossil were mostly located along the backbone and the tail of the animal. This would have made the structures quite useless for flight and of very limited use in thermoregulation. This suggests that the lines do not represent feathers.

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The reading states that the Sinosauropterys was not a feathered dinosaur and provides some reasons of support. However, the professor explains that the hypothesis of this animal having feather is very strong and refutes each of the author's claims.

First, the article claims that the fine lines do not provide evidence of functional structure; instead they could have been formed after the dinosaurs' death because of decomposition. The professor refutes this point by saying that the theory of the skin decomposed to fibers is unlikely real. She states that we have not seen decomposition in other animals buried on the same sites. In fact, skins of other animals have been well-preserved. Theref ...

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