DINOSAUR SOUNDS- Finding Clues

We’re listening to a simulation of what dinosaurs might have sounded like. In a moment we’ll hear about the clues that scientists are following in order to fabricate these sounds. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Kristin Junette is with the Biology Department at Montana State University. She’s studied dinosaur fossils to see if there’s any evidence that they vocalized.

“What we got to do is look at the ear parts first and if they heard, they probably made sound. Otherwise, why have ears. The most evident clue that they probably made sounds are the duck billed dinosaurs. And these duck billed dinosaurs generally had crests on the tops of their head.”

The crest could have been a sound resonator.

“Inside of this bony crest were nasal passages that extend from the nose opening to the lungs. So by having these crests on the top of the head, they greatly extended the length of these air passages. And it suggests that there’s a long history behind making sound because they are so modified. So that implies that other dinosaurs made sounds as well.”

Certain types of vocalizations work better than others in different environments, and scientists think that the dinousar’s habitat may have influenced the way its voice evolved over time. But how do we know what that habitat was like?

“By looking at the animal’s shape of teeth, that gives us a lot to know about what they ate, their diet and even the way their feet are made tells us if they’ll be walking in mud or sand or something else. So the whole body of the dinosaur gives us certain clues about what type of habitat it may be in.”

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.

DINOSAUR SOUNDS- Finding Clues

In trying to recreate an ancient sound, scientists rely on the fossilized remains of dinosaurs.
Air Date:07/01/1999
Scientist:
Transcript:

We're listening to a simulation of what dinosaurs might have sounded like. In a moment we'll hear about the clues that scientists are following in order to fabricate these sounds. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet, presented by the American Museum of Natural History.

Kristin Junette is with the Biology Department at Montana State University. She's studied dinosaur fossils to see if there's any evidence that they vocalized.

"What we got to do is look at the ear parts first and if they heard, they probably made sound. Otherwise, why have ears. The most evident clue that they probably made sounds are the duck billed dinosaurs. And these duck billed dinosaurs generally had crests on the tops of their head."

The crest could have been a sound resonator.

"Inside of this bony crest were nasal passages that extend from the nose opening to the lungs. So by having these crests on the top of the head, they greatly extended the length of these air passages. And it suggests that there's a long history behind making sound because they are so modified. So that implies that other dinosaurs made sounds as well."

Certain types of vocalizations work better than others in different environments, and scientists think that the dinousar's habitat may have influenced the way its voice evolved over time. But how do we know what that habitat was like?

"By looking at the animal's shape of teeth, that gives us a lot to know about what they ate, their diet and even the way their feet are made tells us if they'll be walking in mud or sand or something else. So the whole body of the dinosaur gives us certain clues about what type of habitat it may be in."

Pulse of the Planet is presented by the American Museum of Natural History. Additional funding for this series has been provided by the National Science Foundation. I'm Jim Metzner.