PTE阅读写作SWT训练: 穿地龙The Mud Dragon


No one knows for sure how the Mud Dragon died. The 72-66 million year old dinosaur, excavated by a farmer and construction workers with the help of a little TNT, is nearly complete and seems to be reaching out to us through time. If the pose can be taken as preserving the moment of death, it’s not difficult to imagine this parrot-like dinosaur struggling against the sucking mud of a Cretaceous swamp, too tired to kick anymore. Whether this actually happened or not is as yet unknown, but its nickname nevertheless conjures the image of a hopelessly-mired theropod.

What’s clearer is what this new dinosaur – officially dubbed Tongtianlong limosus – says about dinosaurs in the days of the Late Cretaceous. In the paper describing the creature, paleontologists Junchang Lü, Stephen Brusatte, and colleagues point out that this is the sixth unique oviraptorid dinosaur found in the Late Cretaceous rock around Ganzhou, China. Within the last seven million years of the Cretaceous, just before the extinction that killed all the non-avian dinosaurs, these peculiar omnivores were undergoing a great diversification, new forms popping up right until the very end.

Paleontologists are continuing the debate whether non-avian dinosaurs went out with a bang or a whimper at the end of the Cretaceous. Some studies suggest that they thrived to the very last moment. Others conclude that something was happening to trim dinosaur body types and diversity in the last seven million years. There’s no answer yet, especially given that so much of what is known about the extinction comes from only a few spots around the world. Not to mention that it may be that some dinosaur communities were being reshuffled while others were continuing to thrive in the way they had been. For now, though, Tongtianlong hints that some forms of dinosaurs were proliferating right into the last days of the Cretaceous, beckoning us to go out and find more fossils from this narrow, critical slice of dinosaurian history.


excavate: v. 发掘,挖掘。

Cretaceous: adj. 白垩纪的;n. 白垩纪。

swamp: n. 沼泽,湿地;vt. 使陷入沼泽。

conjure: vt. 念咒召唤,提出,想象。

theropod: n. 兽脚类的肉食恐龙。

paleontologist: n. 古生物学者。

peculiar:  adj. 特殊的,独特的;n. 特产。

omnivore: n. [动] 杂食动物。

whimper: n. 呜咽声;vi. 呜咽,低声抱怨。

beckon: vt. 召唤,吸引。






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