Dinosaurs More Likely Cooed And Mumbled Rather Than Roared

Posted: Jul 11 2016, 9:02pm CDT | by , Updated: Jul 13 2016, 7:16pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News

 
Dinosaurs More Likely Cooed and Mumbled Rather Than Roared
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New research suggests dinosaurs might have vocalized with a closed-mouth.

The “Jurassic Park” image of dinosaurs is quite ferocious. They have always been depicted as fearsome predators capable of producing extreme, ear-shattering sounds. But new research suggests that the perception may not be entirely true. Some dinosaurs likely cooed or mumbled rather than roared.

Researchers from the University of Texas have thoroughly examined the vocal organs of bird species and different sounds they produce. Because birds evolved from dinosaurs, the findings may help understand the way dinosaurs made sounds.

Modern birds emit sounds with a unique specialized way. They produce sounds through the skin in the neck area while the beak is kept closed. The process is called closed mouth vocalization. One of the best examples of this behavior is a dove that typically pushes air that drives sound production into a muscular passage rather than exhale through the open beak.

For the study, researchers examined 208 bird species and found that 52 of them used closed-mouth vocalization. Based on these results, researchers suggest that many dinosaurs might also vocalize with a closed-mouth and perhaps produced low-pitched sounds instead of full throated roar which is difficult to associate with the existing image of giant predator.

“Looking at the distribution of closed-mouth vocalization in birds that are alive today could tell us how dinosaurs vocalized,” said co-author Chad Eliason from University of Texas.

“Our results show that closed-mouth vocalization has evolved at least 16 times in archosaurs, a group that includes birds, dinosaurs and crocodiles.”

The findings certainly shed more light on the vocalization of dinosaurs but they are far from definitive. At this point in time, no direct fossil is available to confirm what dinosaurs sounded like.

“To make any kind of sense of what nonavian dinosaurs sounded like, we need to understand how living birds vocalize,” said co-author Julia Clarke. “This makes for a very different Jurassic world. Not only were dinosaurs feathered, but they may have had bulging necks and made booming, closed-mouth sounds.”

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