Dinosaurs still exist as modern birds

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee (UT) Science Forum guest speaker Dr. Colin Sumrall revealed that modern-day birds are living descendants of dinosaurs.

Dr. Sumrall is an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UT. For ten years Dr. Sumrall has taught the Age of the Dinosaurs class. The class explains how the dinosaur lineage did not end 65 million years ago when an asteroid hit Earth.

The skulls of the Seagull and the Allosaurus dinosaur have similarly structured holes of the jaw and eye socket.
The skulls of the Seagull and the Allosaurus dinosaur have similarly structured jaws and eye sockets.

According to Dr. Sumrall, “the idea of dinosaur extinction is 19th-century science.”

The mass extinction killed the largest predator dinosaurs, but seven or eight small dinosaur lineages survived.

Dr. Sumrall referred to the mass extinction as, “a pseudo-extinction because rather than the last dinosaur on Earth die, we simply changed the name of the last dinosaur on Earth to bird.”

The bird lineage began with the dinosaur Archaeopteryx. Over time dinosaur characteristics of a stiff tail and three toes evolved in present-day birds.

The Archaeopteryx fossil cast displays evidence of feathers and enlargement of the brain seen in birds today.
The Archaeopteryx fossil cast displays evidence of feathers and enlargement of the brain seen in birds today.

An extra hinge jaw and a wishbone are dinosaur adaptations that help birds fly. These adaptations support Dr. Sumrall’s belief that, “all birds are equally related to dinosaurs.”

Although people have not recognized the dinosaur and bird genealogy, Dr. Sumrall insisted that the, “lineage persists regardless of our opinion of them.”

Board of Education rejects autistic student’s discrimination appeal

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The Knox County Board of Education votes no on parent’s discrimination appeal for their fourth-grade autistic son.

The student’s father, Matt Anderson, pleaded his son’s case in front of the Board members.

The 10-year-old student was placed in a comprehensive developmental classroom (CDC) separate from the general education class. The parents claim that the CDC restrictive setting is in violation of Title II of the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

The student’s parents, Matt and Stephanie Anderson, filed a civil rights discrimination complaint on September 29th, 2014. A three-panel hearing and Knox County Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim McIntyre denied the parent’s discrimination claim last April.

“Knox County unnecessarily segregates students with pervasive disabilities; they just do,” exclaimed the student’s father during last night’s appeal hearing.

The Andersons first identified this discrimination when their son entered pre-school at Fort Sanders. The then three-year old student was placed in a full time special education classroom.

The student’s mother Stephanie continuously relayed, “You’re holding the information hostage and as he progresses through the years he’s not getting the same access to the information that the other children are.”

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The 2013-2014 State Report Card of Tennessee details the proficiency percentages of students with disabilities in the core classroom subjects.

She noted that much of this withheld information appears on the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP). As students with disabilities take the TCAP, they are not prepared for certain test questions.

Susan Crabtree, the attorney representing Knox County Schools, argued that there was no violation under ADA.

“There’s no prejudice here. This is sound educational programming that the parents don’t agree with, but it’s sound programming, ” Crabtree insisted.

The board unanimously approved the previous decisions of the Knox County Schools hearing committee and Superintendent. Board Member Karen Carson expressed her support to uphold those decisions, but she ensured that this was not an easy verdict.

“This is one of those things that doesn’t leave you comfortable at the end, but it’s important to remember the charge before our body,” Carson stated.