What Did Dinosaurs Sound Like?
Recreating Dinosaur Sounds
There isn’t a movie or cartoon I haven’t seen that has gotten dinosaur sounds right yet. The truth is, dinosaurs didn’t roar at all. So how can we know what dinosaurs sound like? We can try looking at the animals of today most closely related to dinosaurs. That’d be birds and crocodiles, in that order. We’ll start with crocodiles. Crocodiles and dinosaurs split off the same subdivision in the animal kingdom, Archosauria. Kind of like cousins. Kind of. Crocodiles use a larynx, like humans, to make sounds. Well, dinosaurs didn’t have a larynx. That brings us to the dinosaurs of today, birds. Birds use a syrinx to chirp and tweet. This is something unique to birds though, and was developed after their little branch split in the dinosaur kingdom tree. Voice boxes are made from a material that doesn’t fossilize well, so even getting the general idea is out of the question. Notice I said doesn’t fossilize well. Thanks to a stroke of luck, we can now give a good account of what dinosaurs sounded like. At least, what a Parasaurolophus sounded like using its crest.
The Sound of Parasaurolophus Calls
In 1995 an incredibly well preserved Parasaurolophus skull was found. Two years later, computer scientists and paleontologists ran a CT scan on the skull at a local hopsital in New Mexico, then used the resources of highly classified Sandia Labs to put the information into a computer and create a 3-D model of the skull. The computer model could then simulate sounds that resulted when air was moved through it. The sounds you can hear in the clip are with and without vocal chords, as scientists still do not know if Parasaurolophus had vocal chords. Again, not so good with the fossilizing. This has been such a well kept ‘secret’ for how amazing of a discovery this is from almost 20 years ago.
When you listen to this sound, remember that it hasn’t been heard on this earth for over 70 million years…
Amazing to finally hear what a dinosaur really sounded like. Enjoy the video, and don’t forget to like and share!