Scientists find it difficult to state what type of sounds dinosaurs would make. However, they have recently analyzed fossils from a dinosaur bird in order to find out more information on the matter. They discovered that the ancient bird could at most make sounds similar to a goose or duck, but couldn’t actually sing.
What the researchers did was analyze a fossil which is the vocal organ of an ancient dinosaur bird, called Vegavis iaai. The fossil is the oldest of its kind, and it was discovered only three years ago. The organ is called a syrinx and accounts for the fact that songbirds are not closely related to the mighty dinosaurs.
Specialists think that the Vegavis iaai must have lived more than sixty million years ago. The bird roamed the skies of modern day Antarctica and it is a close relative of swans, ducks, and geese.
Specialists worked on the reconstruction of the syrinx of the dinosaur bird. According to researchers, it was located in the bird’s chest, connecting the lungs and the windpipe. They used procedures similar to CT scans to obtain virtual and 3D images of the fossil. They also compared it to fossils from different birds which still exist today.
The researchers succeeded in creating a 3D reconstruction of the organ which helped ancient birds make sounds. The syrinx was a bony organ, which enabled the birds to produce whistles or honks. Researchers are not sure about the range of sounds that these ancient birds could produce. They intend to study more in-depth the sounds that modern day ducks make and see if there are any similarities that could help them with the research.
Researchers account for the fact that there are many studies concerned with the wingspan of birds and their ability to fly. However, there is little information about their remarkable feature of singing. For the time being, it seems like their mighty dinosaur ancestors had nothing to do with this legacy. This means that songbirds must have evolved differently, and scientists are determined to find out how.
The Vegavis iaai lived towards the end of the dinosaurs’ era. It was not quite a dinosaur itself. Moreover, there is no evidence of the syrinx in dinosaurs that couldn’t fly. They displayed a larynx, which is common in vertebrates.
Specialists Julia Clarke and her team were in charge of the new research and reconstruction of the syrinx. Details of the study were published in Nature.
Image courtesy of: Wikipedia