Dinosaur Vocalizations

If you were living in the Jurassic era, what kinds of sounds would you expect to hear from dinosaurs?

That takes some detective work because soft tissue isn’t usually fossilized.  But according to the EarthSky website, a team of scientists has found the vocal organ of a bird that’s a relative of ducks and geese and liveddinosaur-sounds over 66 million years ago, which would put it during the dinosaur era.  Birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs, and scientists actually consider them living dinosaurs.

Does that mean dinosaurs could have sounded like birds?  No, because a vocal organ, or syrinx, has never been found in non-bird dinosaur fossils of the same age.  That’s according to the science journal Nature published on October 12, 2016.

This fossil syrinx has an asymmetrical shape, which indicates the species could have made honking noises via two sound sources in the right and left parts of the organ.  The syrinx was found in a fossil of Vegavis iaai, a bird that lived during the Cretaceous Era.  It was discovered on Antarctica’s Vega Island in 1992, but scientists  didn’t notice a syrinx was also present until 2013.  All other known examples of fossilized syrinxes occur in birds that lived well after non-bird dinosaurs went extinct.  No other examples of a syrinx in dinosaur fossils have been found so far.

So the evidence suggests dinosaurs couldn’t sing, but maybe they honked.


The original article is at  http://earthsky.org/earth/what-did-dinosaurs-sound-likeThe photo came from the University of Texas at Austin website http://news.utexas.edu/2016/10/12/oldest-known-squawk-box-reveals-dinosaurs-likely-didn-t-sing .

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