Essay topics: TPO31- Integrated writing
The reading opposes the idea that the Sinosauropteryx was a feathered dinosaur and provides three reasons of support. However, the professor says that the evidence that the lines in the Sinosauropteryx fossil represent feathers is very strong and refutes each of the author’s reasons.
First, the article states that the fine lines were misinterpreted as evidence of feathers. However, this lines formed after the animal died and was buried in volcanic ash, its skin may have decomposed into fibers and these fibers preserved as lines in the fossil. The professor refutes this point by explaining that the fine lines in the fossils cannot be fiber as a result of decomposition of the animal skin because other buried animals in the same site did not show any sign of such a composition, instead their skin appears well-preserved.
Second, the passage states that the lines surrounding the skeleton are much more likely to be fossilized remains of frills than remains of feathers. In contrast, the professor says that there is the important chemical difference between frills and feathers. Feathers contain the Beta-keratin which is type of protein, while frills do not contain this a type of protein. The chemical analysis of Sinosauropteryx fossil shows that the lines contain the Beta-keratin which means that these lines likely to be traces of feathers.
Third, the reading posits that the structures representted by the lines in the Sinosauropteryx fossil were mostly located along the backbone and the tail of the animal and this make the structures quite useless for flight and very limited use in thermoregulation. The professor refutes this point by explaining that the feathers can be used for another function than flight and thermoregulation. For example, the peacock functions the long colorful tail to attract a mate as which called as a distinct function. In addition, the analyses of Sinosauropteryx structures were colorful. They were white and orange. This fact clearly supports the idea that they were feathers that dinosaurs used to display.
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