Question Sheet: Dinosaurs Grow Up


Before reading:

  1. What clues would you look for to try to show that dinosaurs are related to birds?
  2. Who do you think weighs more, you or a velociraptor?
  3. Which dinosaur do you think grows at the fastest rate?

During reading:

  1. According to the article, what stage in life do kids and dinosaurs share?
  2. In recent years, what question have paleontologists been obsessed with? Where, and in what kinds of things, have they been looking for answers?
  3. What physical features do certain dinosaurs and birds share?
  4. What pattern did Gregory Erickson observe that allowed him to determine the weight of any dinosaur?
  5. Why have scientists concluded that dinosaurs were not just big lizards? What evidence suggested this?
  6. What do scientists hope to learn by studying the growth rates of different animals?
  7. When did dinosaurs become extinct?

After reading:

  1. Why do you think scientists feel it is so important to compare the growth rates of different animals?
  2. Why are scientists unable to claim that birds definitely evolved from dinosaurs?
  3. What are some possible reasons why birds grow at a faster rate than reptiles?


  1. Some people may have a hard time believing birds evolved from dinosaurs. Write a summary of the most convincing evidence from the article that helps support such a claim.
  2. Emily Sohn compares research to “gathering clues to solve a mystery.” Come up with three other ways of describing what a scientist does.
  3. Imagine you are a paleontologist working in the hot weather of Madagascar, searching for signs of dinosaurs. Write a diary entry detailing the kind of work you have been doing and the clues you have uncovered.


  1. a. Try to figure out your growth rate. Measure your height and weigh yourself once a week for about 2 months, recording your data as precisely as possible. Then construct a graph, plotting your height (or weight) on one axis and time (in days) on the other.

    b. Calculate your average change in height (or weight) per week and per day.

    c. Compare the data you collected to those collected by your classmates. Who grew the most? What was the class average for height and for weight at the beginning and the end of the measurement period?

  2. Sauropods could grow by as many as 14 kilograms per day. How many grams would a sauropod gain per day? How many milligrams?