Sunday, June 15, 2014

What Does T. rex Say?

T. rex holotype specimen. Photo by Scott Robert Anseimo, CC BY-SA 3.0.
It's an iconic scene in every dinosaur movie: the huge, conquering carnivorous theropod rears back and lets out a terrifying bellow. Sound effects artists spend huge amounts of time sampling vocalizations from various animals to create just the right mix to create an unfamiliar, otherworldly roar. And, of course, everybody knows that pterodactyls let out harsh, echoing, prehistoric sounding screeches.

But how close to reality are these sounds? Do we have any ways of using science to figure out what dinosaurs and other stem-birds may have sounded like? Do we have evidence that they made sounds at all?