News Mash-up: Ancient Discoveries

Category: Science/Environment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. pore over / pɔr ˈoʊ vər / (phrasal) – to read or examine something very carefully

    Andy loves to cook, so he spent last weekend poring over his grandma’s old recipes.

  2. hinterland / ˈhɪn tərˌlænd / (n) – a less developed region of a country, especially the middle region away from the coastline or major cities

    Most people visit big cities when they travel abroad, but I love to check out the hinterlands.

  3. thaw / θɔ / (v) – to stop being frozen due to an increase in temperature

    It’s spring, and the snow’s slowly starting to thaw.

  4. limb / lɪm / (n) – an arm or leg

    The soldier lost his left arm and needs an artificial limb.

  5. Cretaceous Period / krɪˈteɪ ʃəs ˈpɪər i əd / (n) – the period between approximately 145 million and 66 million years ago when flowering plants and modern insects first appeared

    The scientists believe that the fossil they found is from the Cretaceous Period.


Read the text below.

Rhino remains found in Siberian permafrost

Russian scientists are poring over the well-preserved remains of a woolly rhinoceros that likely roamed the Siberian hinterland more than 12,000 years ago. The remains were found in the diamond-producing region of Yakutia.

Similar finds in Russia’s vast Siberian region have happened with increasing regularity as climate change, which is warming the Arctic at a faster pace than the rest of the world, has thawed the ground in some areas long locked in permafrost.

The rhino was found at a river in August complete with all its limbs, some of its organs, its tusk — a rarity for such finds — and even its wool, according to scientist Valery Plotnikov. (Reuters)

Oldest titanosaur unearthed in Argentina

Scientists have unearthed in Argentina’s Patagonian wilderness fossils of what may be the oldest-known member of the dinosaur group known as titanosaurs, which includes the largest land animals in Earth’s history.

Researchers said on March 1 the fossils represent a dinosaur species named Ninjatitan zapatai that lived 140 million years ago during the Cretaceous Period. They identified N. zapatai as a titanosaur, a group of long-necked plant-eating dinosaurs that walked on four pillar-like legs.

The dinosaur’s incomplete skeletal remains were discovered south of the city of Neuquen. The findings were published in the scientific journal Ameghiniana. (Reuters)

These articles were provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • If you found the well-preserved remains of a woolly rhinoceros, what would you do with them (ex. sell them, donate them to a museum)? Why? Discuss.
  • If you could bring one extinct animal back to life, which animal would you choose (ex. the saber-toothed tiger, the dodo)? Why? Discuss.
  • Do you think scientists should try to bring back extinct animals? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • If you could travel back in time to the Cretaceous Period, would you? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Dinosaurs are a popular theme in movies and TV shows. In your opinion, why are so many people fascinated with them? Discuss.
  • Do you think movies and TV shows depict dinosaurs accurately? Why or why not? Discuss.