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How Are Dinosaurs Named?



How Are Dinosaurs Named?

A Short Reader

Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.21

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    deinos, micropachycephalosaurus, sauros, thick-headed, organization, literally, location, longest, honor, behavior, which, feature, modern, word, same, terrible
     content words:    Sir Richard Owen, International Commission, Zoological Nomenclature, Edward Drinker Cope, Minmi Crossing


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How Are Dinosaurs Named?
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     The word dinosaur was coined by Sir Richard Owen in 1842. It comes from the Greek words deinos, which means "fearfully great" or "terrible," and the Greek word sauros which means "lizard." Dinosaur literally means terrible lizard. There are many different ways a dinosaur is given its name.
 
2     Some are given a name that describes an unusual feature about its head, body, or feet. Others are named for the location where they were found. Still others are named for their behavior. Some are named in honor of a person. All the names must be approved by an organization called the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature.
 
3     One dinosaur that was named for its unusual head features was the Triceratops. Its name means "three-horned face" because its face had three horns. A dinosaur that was named for its feet was the Deinonychus. Its name in Greek means "terrible claw." It had three toes on each foot that ended in large, sharp, curved claws. The Albertosaurus was a dinosaur found in Alberta, Canada.

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