If we think of dinosaurs, it is normal to imagine them emitting roars or growls, like in the movies. However, it seems that the ankylosaurus (Pinacosaurus grangeri), known for its curious beaked armor, actually sang like a bird.
This is the conclusion of a study recently published in Nature Communications and it is true that it should not surprise us much. Ultimately, the relationship between birds and dinosaurs it is well known. However, the conclusions obtained from the fossils of their vocal apparatus have pointed out that the sounds were not one of their coincidental points. We also can’t be sure what dinosaurs sounded like. In fact, for the roars and growls of Jurassic Park a mixture of calls from other animals was used, mixed with a certain dose of imagination.
Now, thanks to the preserved fossil of the larynx of an ankylosaurwe know that he had a lot in common with a typical structure of birds. Because of that, it possibly sounded more like a bird. But more like a parrot than a nightingale. Wouldn’t it be very nice.
Why did the ankylosaur sound like a bird?
The authors of this study, from the Hokkaido University Museumin Japan, and New York Museum of Natural History, worked on the fossilized larynx of an ankylosaurus specimen who should have lived 72-84 million years ago. It is, therefore, the oldest recorded larynx of a dinosaur of this type.
Logically, that makes it a very interesting fossil to study. And these scientists were preparing to do this when something caught their attention. It had many points in common with a typical bird organ: the syrinx.
It is located at the base of the trachea and helps emit sounds through vibrations of the organ itself, without the need for vocal cords. This is how they emit that characteristic song, but also how some, like parrots, can even imitate the human voice.
In the case of the ankylosaur, did not have a syringe. But his larynx was very similar to this organ. In fact, while the larynx of most animals serves to close the glottis and avoid choking, among other functions, that of the ankylosaurus did not seem to have that capacity. On the contrary, its walls could have the ability to vibrate and generate sounds, like those of birds. Specifically, due to its characteristics, the sound could have been similar to that of parrots.
What were those sounds for?
It is not possible to know for sure what the singing ankylosaurus. However, the study authors don’t think it differed too much from the calls of other dinosaurs. That is to say, that they would possibly use it for courtship between males and females, for calls to their children and to mark territory and defend themselves from predators.
Ok, that sounds a lot more threatening. roar of a T.rex Just like we’ve seen in the movies. But a parrot can become very incisive if it sets its mind to it. We do not rule out that the singing of the ankylosaurus would scare more than a large dinosaur.