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Dinosaurs
Stampeding Dinosaurs



Stampeding Dinosaurs
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 5
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   4.37

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    heffalumps, hypsilophodont, hypsilophodonts, hypsilophondont, muzzle, ostrich, paleontologists, pecking, sandstorms, eaters, grassy, mouthful, fairly, pretend, kangaroo, beak


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Stampeding Dinosaurs
By Colleen Messina
  

1     Pretend that you are walking across a grassy plain millions of years ago. Suddenly, you hear a roaring sound. The ground shakes! You dodge behind a huge palm tree. A stampede of animals with strong legs runs by. What would you expect to see if you peeked out from your hiding place? Horses?
 
2     Horses didn't exist long ago. One group of animals that lived in herds was the hypsilophodonts. No, they were not related to heffalumps, even though their name sounds similar. They were like horses in the Jurassic and Cretaceous world. The stampede you saw might have been a herd of hypsilophodonts.
 
3     These animals liked to live in large herds. Scientists are fairly sure about this. They have to be careful about their ideas, though. If you found a pile of huge bones together, what would you think? You might think that all the dinosaurs died at the same time, but you would never know for sure. Scientists have found places with many bones of the same dinosaurs.
 
4     These fossilized herds may have been struck by disasters like sandstorms. Or they may have died at different times at that one place. Scientists have found lots of tracks that the herds left as they moved around. They also have found hypsilophodont nests. It seems like the babies nested close together. Protecting them was a big job.
 
5     Dinosaur herds also protected their young by keeping their babies in the center of the group. Tiny fossil footprints were often found in the middle. Large fossil footprints were around the outside of the herd. Why did they do that? If some giant meat eaters came by looking for lunch, the herd made a ring. Inside the ring were the babies. The adults in the ring were stuck there until the predators gave up or caught one of them.

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