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, scientists cannot tell with certainty what part of the dinosaur’s anatomy the structures were. Many dinosaurs had frills, ornamental fan-shaped structures growing out of some parts of their bodies. Some of the critics argue that the lines surrounding the skeleton are much more likely to be fossilized remains of frills than remains of feathers.
A third objection is 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 claims that the Sinosauropleryx was not a feathered dinosaur and provides three reasons of support. However, the professor explains that the evidence is very strong to prove this animal was actually feathered and the points made in the article are unconvincing. So, she refutes each of author's reasons.
First, the article posits that the lines found on the fossils of this creature were formed after its death. The lecturer contends that this is not certainly an evidence of decomposition. She explains that decomposition of skin of other animals were not observed in the same area and they were well-preserved. Thus, we can conclude that the functional skin of this dinosaur were also preserved perfectly.
Second, the reading avers that the fine lines cannot indicate the specific body part of this dinosaur. The professor opposes this point by saying that frills have different chemical structures than feathers. She adds that feathers are made of a protein called "beta-keratin". The fossil samples demonstrated a large amount of beta-keratin which is a very strong evidence.
Third, the reading asserts that the lines were found around tails and backbones which do not seem functional. The professor refutes this point by explaining that flying and controlling internal temperature are not the most important functions. She states that some birds such as peakocks have colorful feathers all around their tail to display and attract mates. The lecturer defines this ability as "display function". She mentions that display function is a very important function. Also, the evidence proves that the feathers were orange and white which clearly illustrate the function of this dinosaur's feathers for display function.
the functional skin of this dinosaur were also preserved perfectly.
the functional skins of this dinosaur were also preserved perfectly.
Sentence: She states that some birds such as peakocks have colorful feathers all around their tail to display and attract mates.
Error: peakocks Suggestion: peacocks
Attribute Value Ideal
Score: 25 in 30
Category: Very Good Excellent
No. of Grammatical Errors: 1 2
No. of Spelling Errors: 1 2
No. of Sentences: 17 12
No. of Words: 272 250
No. of Characters: 1431 1200
No. of Different Words: 143 150
Fourth Root of Number of Words: 4.061 4.2
Average Word Length: 5.261 4.6
Word Length SD: 2.672 2.4
No. of Words greater than 5 chars: 109 80
No. of Words greater than 6 chars: 89 60
No. of Words greater than 7 chars: 64 40
No. of Words greater than 8 chars: 29 20
Use of Passive Voice (%): 0 0
Avg. Sentence Length: 16 21.0
Sentence Length SD: 5.029 7.5
Use of Discourse Markers (%): 0.471 0.12
Sentence-Text Coherence: 0.32 0.35
Sentence-Para Coherence: 0.521 0.50
Sentence-Sentence Coherence: 0.159 0.07
Number of Paragraphs: 4 4