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Small dinosaurs once lived in the desert in today’s Mongolia and northern China. Their great night vision and strong hearing made them deadly predators during the nighttime.
predator – n. an animal that lives by killing and eating other animals, an animal that preys on other animals
they asked police for extra night-time patrols
Scientists said Thursday they have found a circle of bones around the eye of a dinosaur called Shuvuuia Deserti. The bones were inside the skull, which holds the hearing organ. Scientists say the dinosaur had hearing and sight abilities much like an owl, meaning it could hunt in the dark.
Their study was published in the journal, Science. The research showed that most predatory dinosaurs had good hearing, but their sight worked best during the daytime. The Shuvuuia, however, loved nightlife.
predatory – adj
The two-legged dinosaur was the size of a large bird and weighed about as much as a house cat. It had many small teeth, like pieces of rice. It was lightweight and lived during the Cretaceous Period, about 75 million to 81 million years ago.
Lightweight - adj
Roger Benson is a paleontologist from the University of Oxford who helped write the study. "It's such a strange animal that paleontologists have long wondered what it was actually doing,” he said.
Paleontologist – noun
Paleontology – noun - the branch of science concerned with fossil animals and plants.
Its mid-length neck, small head, and very long legs, made it look like an unusual chicken. But unlike birds, it had short, strong arms with a large claw on the end, which was useful for digging.
Claw – noun - a sharp curved part on the toe of an animal
Jonah Choiniere is a paleontologist at Wits University in South Africa and the study's lead author.
"Shuvuuia might have run across the desert floor under cover of night, using its incredible hearing and night vision to track small prey such as nocturnal mammals, lizards and insects,” he said.
Incredible – adj – impossible to believe, extremely good, great, or large – SYN: Extraordinary
Vision – noun - sight, the ability to see
Prey – noun - an animal that is hunted and killed by another animal for food
Nocturnal – adj – active at night
most owls are nocturnal.