Walking with dinosaurs IELTS Answerkey
TEST 1 (ONE)
ACADEMIC READING PASSAGE 1 (ONE)
ACADEMIC READING PASSAGE 2 (TWO)
ACADEMIC READING PASSAGE 3 (THREE)
Peter L. Falkingham and his colleagues at Manchester University are developing techniques which look set to revolutionize our understanding of how dinosaurs and other extinct animals behaved.
Falkingham himself is investigating fossilized tracks, or footprints, using computer simulations to help analyze how extinct animals moved. Modern-day trackers who study the habitats of wild animals can tell you what animal made a track, whether that animal was walking or running, sometimes even the sex of the animal. But a fossil track poses a more considerable challenge to interpret in the same way. A crucial consideration is knowing what the environment including the mud, or sediment, upon which the animal walked was like millions of years ago when the track was made. Experiments can answer these questions but the number of variables is staggering. To physically recreate each scenario with a box of mud is extremely time-consuming and difficult to repeat accurately. This is where computer simulation comes in.
Falkingham uses computational techniques to model a volume of mud and control the moisture content, consistency, and other conditions to simulate the mud of prehistoric times. A footprint is then made in the digital mud by a virtual foot. This footprint can be chopped up and viewed from any angle and stress values can be extracted and calculated from inside it. By running hundreds of these simulations simultaneously on supercomputers, Falkingham can start to understand what types of footprint would be expected if an animal moved in a certain way over a given kind of ground. Looking at the variation in the virtual tracks, researchers can make sense of fossil tracks with greater confidence.
The application of computational techniques in palaeontology is becoming more prevalent every year. As computer power continues to increase, the range of problems that can be tackled and questions that can be answered will only expand.
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