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Palaeontology

What sounds did the dinosaurs really make ?

By T.K. Randall
October 14, 2016 · Comment icon 16 comments



Dinosaurs may have sounded more like modern birds. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 Frank Vincentz
Contrary to popular belief, the dinosaurs probably did not make loud roaring noises like in the movies.
In the Jurassic Park film series, dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus rex are shown making terrifying roaring sounds, but now according to a new study led by paleontologist Julia Clarke, these prehistoric reptiles may have actually sounded very different in real-life.

To get to the bottom of what the dinosaurs really sounded like, the researchers took a closer look at the voice boxes of their closest living relatives - the birds.
"Our voice box, just to kind of contextualize it, is made up of cartilaginous support structures from which there are super-squishy soft tissues, what we call vocal folds, that vibrate and produce sound," said Clarke.

"Birds have essentially the same thing, in that they have cartilaginous support structures and these super-squishy vocal folds. But where their voice box is located is deep in the chest where the windpipe branches into two tubes, if you will, that go to the right and left lung."

By comparing the voice boxes of modern birds to that of Vegavis iaai, a prehistoric relative of the goose which lived 66 million years ago, the scientists were able to determine that these early avian ancestors most likely made honking and quacking sounds, rather than roars and screeches.

Source: CBC.ca | Comments (16)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Aten 6 years ago
Hmm, what about the size of the animal? surely a large animal will have deeper tones than a small one?, my two pence
Comment icon #8 Posted by Jungleboogie 6 years ago
Logic would dictate that most extinct dinosaurs made similar sounds to those of living dinosaurs today, such as crocodiles. Much more likely than honks and quacks, imo. ***So, after browsing through the peer-reviewed journal, the author of the study states quite plainly that the bird in question is not a dinosaur, it is a waterfowl related closely to the duck.  So sorry to disappoint. So, that makes this armchair journalist type article rubbish and therefore nothing but clickbait.
Comment icon #9 Posted by rattpoison 6 years ago
I think it's obvious that a T-rex would be singing T-Rex songs.  I'm sure others were singing Dinosaur Jr. and possibly even doing "the dinosaur".  I suppose Godzilla would make sounds that sound very similar to Blue Oyster Cult. Just an educated guess
Comment icon #10 Posted by oldrover 6 years ago
Why would logic dictate that? I think there may be a misunderstanding here somewhere. Firstly, you've said crocodiles are living dinosaurs. This is clearly inaccurate. While it's true they are the closest living relatives to birds, that's the result of extinction among the other members of their group the Archosauria. A clade which is defined, in this case, as being the last common ancestor of birds and crocodilians, and all that ancestors descendants. But, in this case birds and crocodilians, (both of which are very derived, and to a large extent atypical of the majority of their extinct rela... [More]
Comment icon #11 Posted by Blizno 6 years ago
The dinosaur in the cover picture on this page has no feathers. That's probably wrong too.
Comment icon #12 Posted by MissJatti 6 years ago
Brachiosaurus use to click to communicate, like the modern dolphins 
Comment icon #13 Posted by Carnoferox 6 years ago
I don't think so...
Comment icon #14 Posted by Clair 6 years ago
Here's the fossil evidence that was presented: Source: Scientific American
Comment icon #15 Posted by highdesert50 6 years ago
Interesting parallels made to birds. If so, can we surmise that, like birds, the act of making sounds was also used to communicate a fairly rich dictionary of emotions and needs. Birds certainly
Comment icon #16 Posted by highdesert50 6 years ago
double posted


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