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.
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 othe...
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Attribute Value Ideal
Score: 27 in 30
Category: Excellent Excellent
No. of Grammatical Errors: 0 2
No. of Spelling Errors: 0 2
No. of Sentences: 16 12
No. of Words: 277 250
No. of Characters: 1432 1200
No. of Different Words: 144 150
Fourth Root of Number of Words: 4.08 4.2
Average Word Length: 5.17 4.6
Word Length SD: 2.655 2.4
No. of Words greater than 5 chars: 106 80
No. of Words greater than 6 chars: 85 60
No. of Words greater than 7 chars: 58 40
No. of Words greater than 8 chars: 29 20
Use of Passive Voice (%): 0 0
Avg. Sentence Length: 17.312 21.0
Sentence Length SD: 5.37 7.5
Use of Discourse Markers (%): 0.812 0.12
Sentence-Text Coherence: 0.339 0.35
Sentence-Para Coherence: 0.538 0.50
Sentence-Sentence Coherence: 0.095 0.07
Number of Paragraphs: 4 4