昂立教育 > 托福机经 > 写作 > 2011.06预测写作【4】_100122NA_

发布时间:2013-01-11 作者:昂立 来源于:昂立外语网站


u  Integrated writing task:

Topic discussed

The function of stegosaurus plates



Main point: stegosaurus plates serve for 3 purposes

Key point 1: to defend themselves from predators

Key point 2: to control temperature thru blood vessels on skin surface

Key point 3: to display feature to attract opposite sex


Main idea: 3 purposes challenged

Key point 1: plates too thin to serve defensive purpose

Key point 2: blood vessels under surface

Key point 3: both sexes have plates








记忆小贴士:once upon a time,有个tyrant喜欢tyrannize,被人说成tyrannical,人民生活太烂,于是派出tyrannosaurus施行tyrannicide


三角龙。Tri-表示“三”,如trilateral三边,triangle,三角。Ceras-表示“角(horn)”。-ops表示“脸(face)”。从字面上理解也即“three-horned face”。








plate  n.

本意指盘碟等。此处指剑龙身上特有的骨板。另,car plate指车牌。

spike  n.

此处意为剑龙身上特有的尾刺。另,spike heel意为高跟鞋上的尖鞋跟。

dorsal  adj.

背部的。另,dorsal fin背鳍;dorsal horn后角。

thagomizer  n.


thermoregulatory  adj.



defensive mechanism



paleobiology n.

古生物学。Paleontologist古生物学家,经典美剧《老友记》中的Ross Geller就是个paleontologist,特征有三:对恐龙等古生物有特殊情愫;常把Jurassic Park挂在嘴边;在朋友圈中以geek著称。




Sample writing

Both the reading passage and the lecture focus on functions of the dorsal plates of stegosauruses, an extinct species from Jurassic Period. According to the author, evidence has been found to demonstrate the three primary functions. The lecturer, however, holds the opposite view, questioning the argument made in the reading passage.

The first function of the dorsal plates mentioned by the author is for stegosauruses to defend themselves from predators. The plates could be used to protect themselves. On the other hand, the lecturer refutes this by saying that based on the evidence we have these plates are too thin to serve defensive purpose. Chances are that they could break apart before being used to attack enemies. In addition, the distinctive arrangement of dorsal plates leaves the body unprotected.

Moreover, the author contends that the second function of the dorsal plates is to control the heat on the skin surface. It is the author’s belief that the body temperature of stegosauruses could be well regualted by the plates. The lecturer casts doubt on this idea by saying that the blood vessels are all below the surface. The thermoregulatory mechanism can never be realized by the plates unless big blood vessels are on the surface of them.

In addition, the author points out the third purpose that the plates may serve—to display feature so as to attract opposite sex. The lecturer challenges the idea by saying that if so, only one sex should be found with dorsal plates. However, they can be found on both sexes.

To sum up, the author contends that the dorsal plates of stegosauruses served three primary purposes, defensively, thermoregulatorily and reproductively. The lecturer, on the other hand, believes all of these are not convincing enough.

(292 words)

Supplementary readings

What purpose did the plates serve?

Stegosaurus is a kind of dinosaur that had plates along its spine. Researchers all over the world are divided as to what purpose the plates served. Some paleontologists believe that they were used for defense. However, of late this theory has been disputed as evidence through research shows that most probably stegosaurus used the plates to regulate body heat and/or they were used just as ornamental displays.

Stegosaurus was an herbivore that lived around 200 to 145 million years ago in the late Jurassic period. The dinosaur was distinctive with its 17 plates running along its spine, which now the scientists know were bony structures that grew out from under the skin.

In the late 19th century, a paleontologist concluded that the bony plates of a stegosaurus were used for defense and protection. However, this has been disputed because the plates were not big enough to cover the sides of the dinosaur and this means that the sides would have been unprotected.

However, modern-day paleontologists took the fossils of stegosaurus' plates and conducted some research. They found that the plates had large blood vessels running right through them. This led paleontologists to believe that the plates, in fact, were used to regulate the temperature of the blood rather than helping to protect them.

This second conclusion was also not accepted as the blood vessels in the plates did not branch out anywhere in particular. In addition, there some stegosaurus that did not plates. Instead they had spikes which were small so they could not have a thermoregulatory role.

At the moment, a verdict on the role of the plates is still open and scientists are looking for more clues. However, the thermoregulatory function is seen as a secondary function rather than a primary one.

(Source: )


Stegosaurus Plates

In the past, some palaeontologists, notably Robert Bakker, have speculated the plates may have been mobile to some degree, although others disagree. Bakker suggested that the plates were the bony cores of pointed horn-covered plates that a Stegosaurus could flip from one side to another in order to present a predator with an array of spikes and blades that would impede it from closing sufficiently to attack the Stegosaurus effectively. The plates would naturally sag to the sides of the Stegosaurus, the length of the plates reflecting the width of the animal at that point along its spine. His reasoning for these plates to be covered in horn is that the surface fossilized plates have a resemblance to the bony cores of horns in other animals known or thought to bear horns, and his reasoning for the plates to be defensive in nature is that the plates had insufficient width for them to stand erect easily in such a manner as to be useful in display without continuous muscular effort.

The function of the plates has been much debated. Initially thought of as some form of armor, they appear to have been too fragile and ill-placed for defensive purposes, leaving the animal's sides unprotected. More recently, researchers have proposed that they may have helped to control the body temperature of the animal, in a similar way to the sails of the large carnivorous Spinosaurus or of the pelycosaur Dimetrodon (and the ears of modern elephants and jackrabbits). The plates had blood vessels running through grooves and air flowing around the plates would have cooled the blood. Recent structural comparisons of Stegosaurus plates to Alligator osteoderms seems to support the conclusion that the potential for a thermoregulatory role in the plates of Stegosaurus definitely exists. This theory has been seriously questioned, since its closest relatives, such as Kentrosaurus, had more low surface area spikes than plates, implying that cooling was not important enough to require specialized structural formations such as plates.

Their large size suggests that the plates may have served to increase the apparent height of the animal, in order either to intimidate enemies or to impress other members of the same species, in some form of sexual display, although both male and female specimens seemed to have had them. It has been suggested that, in addition to looking bigger, Stegosaurus pumped blood into its plates causing them to "blush" which would add to the visual threat display. A study published in 2005 supports the idea of their use in identification. Researchers believe this may be the function of other unique anatomical features, found in various dinosaur species. Stegosaurus stenops also had disk-shaped plates on its hips.

(Source: )


u  Independent writing task:

Essay question

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: people who go outside are more successful and happier than people who stay in villages. Use specific reasons and details to support your answer.


Pros & cons of going outside

þ  More opportunities

þ  Access to sound facilities

þ  Good for networking

þ  Higher living standard

ý  Greater levels of stress

ý  Pollution

ý  Higher living costs

Pros & cons of staying in villages

þ  Creating a relaxing atmosphere

þ  Ecologically appealing

þ  Fewer competitors

ý  Inadequate access to sound facilities

ý  Fewer opportunities

ý  A smaller interpersonal network

Words & expressions

access  n. & v.

获取某物或资源的渠道。如[Internet access, access to sound educational facilities]等。


metropolis  n.


fascinate  v.


precinct  n.


consumerism  n.


variegated  adj.


amenity  n.


welfare  n.

福利。英国一直标榜自己为福利国家(welfare state),其医保体系可为国民提供“由生到死”的保障(from cradle to grave)。

compete  v.

竞争。Compete with就相当与vie with。注意派生词competitive竞争相关,如competitive advantage是面试官很爱提的讲法,即竞争优势。另,competition表竞争。

stress  v. & n.

压力。如[greater levels of stress]。压力过大(over-stressed)会导致各种疾病,首先是insomnia失眠,之后开始有饮食不调eating disorders,包括anorexia厌食,bulimia暴食呕吐症,吃完给自己催吐,compulsive overeating强迫性暴食。导致的直接恶果则会有anemia贫血,或obesity肥胖症。然后便愈演愈烈,开始amnesia健忘,aphasia失语,distraught心神不宁。最后HYSTERIA!!!


Sample writing

In English, there is a well-known fairy story about a poor country boy, Dick Whittington, who goes to London because he believes that the streets of that city are “paved with gold”. The story is a tale of “from rags to riches”. Dick eventually becomes the Lord Mayor of London. Like the hero of that story, I always find wonder and adventure in cities.

Cities contain a great assortment of people. Whenever I walk around a shopping precinct at midday on a weekend, I am fascinated by all the different types of people hurrying around the shops. Sometimes, I just sit on a public bench and simply watch the variegated streams of shoppers. Today, in the age of globetrotting transport and communications, city life is more mixed than it has ever been. Capital cities are not cosmopolitan, and eager to attract foreign trade and currency. There is a contemporary English joke that tells, “You can never find an Englishman in London.”

Whether rightly or wrongly, governments and local authorities usually build public amenities in the big cities. Money is invested in transport, libraries, parks and museums. Often, countries will compete with each other for the best “show-case” building. Malaysia has built a skyscraper that is taller than is anything in New York. In large countries, region will compete against region: New York against Chicago, Shanghai against Hong Kong and Beijing.

All of these is good for the citizen. The magic of the Dick Whittington story is rekindled in me when I enter a library in a magnificent building. If a person is at university studying art or music, a large city usually offers galleries and public performances. Even as a teenager, I appreciated the worth of living in a city because two or three times a year there was a rock concert by a favorite band.

Architecture is the urban landscape. If a person has an appreciation of architecture, a city can be as visually exciting as the Himalayas. A modern metropolis is a mountain range of height, light and solidness. And then there are the old buildings: the quaint, unspoiled side street or shops and homes from a distant age. If a person lived all of his life in one large city, he would continue to discover its architecture secrets into his old age.

Man is a “social animal”. He talks, mixes and creates. Cities offer the libraries, universities and cafe bars for him to meet others of his kind.

(411 words)




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