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Allosaurus



Allosaurus
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 9
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.28

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    amplex, atrox, ferox, fragilis, knife-like, best, meat-eater, covering, fierce-looking, meat-eaters, swampy, bulky, finding, silt, evidence, unknown
     content words:    United States, Morrison Formation, New Mexico, North America, Smithsonian Museum, Natural History


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Allosaurus
By Sharon Fabian
  

1     In 1883, scientists were digging for dinosaur bones in the western part of the United States, in an area named the Morrison Formation. Since the first dinosaur fossils were found there in 1877, it had become one of the best places in the world to hunt for evidence of dinosaurs. In the late Jurassic period, the area now called the Morrison Formation was a swampy lowland. Rivers there would flood and leave mud and silt that buried and preserved the bones of dinosaurs that had died. It is named for the town of Morrison, Colorado, but the area is huge, covering states from New Mexico to Canada. So finding new dinosaur bones there was not easy.
 
2     It takes patience to find dinosaur fossils, but these scientists didn't give up. In that year, 1883, they found the first full skeleton of an unknown dinosaur, and named it Allosaurus. Allosaurus means "different lizard," and it was given this name because it had vertebrae, or backbones, that were different from the other dinosaurs. Eventually, they found over 60 Allosaurus skeletons in the area. With this much evidence, they could put together a good picture of what an Allosaurus was really like.
 
3     The Allosaurus was a fierce-looking hunter, and it was big! It could have weighed up to five tons. An Allosaurus had a bulky, heavy body with a strong back, a long tail, and an S-shaped neck. It stood on two legs and had two short arms with three fingers each. Each finger had a sharp claw up to six inches long.

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