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Reading Comprehension Worksheet

Dinosaurs

Dinosaurs are animals that evolved into many sizes and shapes. Dinosaurs were and are quite diverse, and often one person will think of an animal like a long-necked sauropod, while another person will think of a large, fierce meat-eater like Tyrannosaurus rex. It should be clear then that the term "dinosaurs", or the scientific version "Dinosauria", is describing a diverse group of animals with widely different modes of living. The term was invented by Sir Richard Owen in 1842 to describe these "fearfully great reptiles", specifically Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, and Hylaeosaurus, the only three dinosaurs known at the time. The creatures that we normally think of as dinosaurs lived from late in the Triassic period (about 225 million years ago) until the end of the Mesozoic era (about 65 million years ago); but actually they live on today as the birds.

Different dinosaurs lived at different times. Despite the portrayals in movies like Fantasia and Jurassic Park, no Stegosaurus ever saw a Tyrannosaurus, because Tyrannosaurus wasn't alive for another 80 or so million years. Ditto for Apatosaurus (a.k.a. "Brontosaurus").

1. When is the term "Dinosauria" used? _________________________________
2. Which dinosaurs were the first to be discovered by humans?

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3. Which living organism is a close relative of the prehistoric dinosaur? _________________________________
4. How do movies affect how humans feel about dinosaurs?

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