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SL.CCS.1/2/3/4 Grades 6-12: An essay of a current news event is provided for discussion to encourage participation, but also inspire the use of evidence to support logical claims using the main ideas of the article. Students must analyze background information provided about a current event within the news, draw out the main ideas and key details, and review different opinions on the issue. Then, students should present their own claims using facts and analysis for support.

FOR THE WEEK OF APR 13, 2015

A mighty beast deserves to get back the name Brontosaurus, scientists say

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Read another science article and tell or list what you learn.
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Try to find any mention of something from before your birth, though not as old as dinosaurs! Pick an interesting fact.
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Can you spot a mention of someone working in science or a technical field. Name three school subjects that person must have mastered.

A giant creature from natural history is in the news as experts resolve a question about its correct name – Brontosaurus or Apatosaurus? After looking closely at 81 fossils of long-neck dinosaurs and compiling a research paper nearly 300 pages long, here's what specialists from Portugal and the United Kingdom say about the world's largest, most iconic dinosaur: "We have good evidence now for the resurrection of Brontosaurus." That statement last week by Emanuel Tschopp, a paleontologist from Portugal, refers to the name -- not to a rebirth of ancient creatures!

Skeletons of the plant-eating Brontosaurus are on towering display in museums across the country and overseas. It was more than 100 feet long, weighed thousands of pounds and is believed to have scared off rivals by loudly snapping its long tail. (Its nickname is Thunder Lizard.)

The scientific species name (or genus, to use the formal word) Brontosaurus was first used in the late 1800s to describe fossils of a dinosaur now on display at Yale University's museum. By 1905, it was reclassified as Apatosaurus because it closely resembled another variety of that name. In the new research, scientists spent five years researching and analyzing hundreds of physical features to distinguish the two types. "The Brontosaurus can be distinguished from Apatosaurus most easily by its neck, which is higher and less wide," explains Tschopp, the lead researcher from the New University of Lisbon in Portugal.

Museum curator says: "Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus are still extremely close. This provides a lot of new information for the argument, but the argument will continue." -- Matthew Carrano, Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History

U.S. specialist says: "That's going to be a fun debate to be a part of, and I'm excited about it." -- John Whitlock, assistant professor of science, Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, Pa.

Scottish paleontologist says: "This dinosaur by any other name, or any name indeed, would still be just as fascinating." – Stephen Brusatte, University of Edinburgh


Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for NIEonline.com, Copyright 2015
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