According to recent research, what we have been taught in school and spoon-fed in documentaries and movies about how dinosaurs communicated may be totally wrong.
A group of Texas researchers found that the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex may have been equipped with feathers and coo-ed rather than roared.
So forget about Jurassic Park’s CG dinosaurs or Godzilla-themed flicks. Scientists believe that they are completely fictitious. Hollywood usually makes dinosaur roars from a mix of animal recordings including baby elephants, alligators and tigers. In the case of raptors, sound effect technicians used either noises emitted by mating tortoises or heavily breathing horses.
Gooses were also used to render the hiss of angry dinosaurs, while donkeys played their part in giving life to brachiosaurs. Sound designers had to be very imaginative because science has so far failed to tell how dinosaurs really sounded like.
However, a group of researchers at the University of Texas believe that dinosaurs either cooed or mumbled when they defended their territory or mates. Scientists believe that the long-extinct creatures probably sounded like today’s ostriches or pigeons.
According to a research paper slated to be printed next month in the journal Evolution, only mammals roar. Dinosaurs made noises very similar to pigeon’s coo or ostrich’s mumble. In fact, the mighty creatures communicated via “closed-mouth vocalizations,” the new study suggests.
Study authors explained that an esophageal pouch help today’s pigeons emit the low-pitched murmurs, while songbirds go for high-pitched vocalizations as they communicate with their beaks open.
In the study, researchers gathered sound samples from hundreds of birds and crocodiles. Next, they classified the sounds into various types including the close-mouth ones. About 25 percent of the bird sound samples were closed-mouth. Researchers noticed that small birds were high-pitched while larger birds such as ostriches and cassowaries were more likely to produce mumbling sounds.
As a result, the team concluded that dinosaurs, which also had large bodies, must have communicated through closed-mouth vocalization. Chad Eliason, co-author of the study and biologist at University of Texas underlined that birds’ vocalizations are an important clue to how dinosaurs may have communicated.
Still, the recent research is not fail-proof as researchers lacked the fossilized organs dinosaurs used to produce the sounds. They explained that soft-tissue does not fossilize as well as dino bones do. So, it is safer to say how a dinosaur looked like than what it sounded like.
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