You mean Jurassic Park isn't accurate?
July 13, 2018 11:57 AM   Subscribe

OK, at least some dinosaurs probably had feathers or proto-feathers, I've come to terms with that. Then it turns out that dinosaurs may have cooed, not roared (reported in Evolution, June 2016). And now you're telling me that T. Rex couldn't stick out its tongue (reported in PLoS One, July 2018)? Time to think about all those dinosaurs among us. (At least it looks like the impressively armored ankylosaurs slurped food with powerful tongues - that's impressive, right?)
posted by filthy light thief (17 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
That one scene in Jurassic Park 2 is to vote what Disney Robin Hood and Gadget were to future furries.
posted by Space Coyote at 12:24 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


I invite anyone who thinks feathered dinosaurs are not cool to observe a live roadrunner or cassowary for a few minutes. My goodness.

Dinosaur vocalization is actually super freaking interesting because birds are unique among vertebrates in that they don't have a larynx like humans do. Instead, they have a syrinx, which sits much lower on the trachea, just at about the point it branches into the lungs. We don't currently know why birds and other dinosaurs lost the larynx, and we don't know how long dinosaurs spent with no larynx before independently evolving a syrinx. (We do know that the syrinx dates back to at least 66 million years ago in avian dinosaurs, but I don't believe we know how many lineages of dinosaurs had one.) We don't even know when exactly the larynx was lost, except that it happened after the dinosaurs diverged from crocodilians and other archosaurs.

So studying dinosaur vocalization brings this huge question of breath control and tracheal anatomy into the room, and making confident statements about exactly how dinosaurs vocalized is very, very difficult to do barring some very interesting fossil evidence. This also means that we don't necessarily have any idea whether pterosaurs had larynxes--were they lost before or after pterosaurs split off from ancestral dinosaurs?--but we can pretty well conclude that mosasaurs did, since they're most closely related to squamates like modern snakes, lizards, and turtles.

Incidentally, the question of whether dinosaurs engaged in open-mouthed or close-mouthed vocalization doesn't necessarily mean that knowing the answer tells us much about relative amplitude. Many animal and human vocalizations are relayed through the nose--for example, your 'm' and 'n' noises are what are called nasals because the reverberated air you're pushing out is being resonated through your nasal cavity, not shaping the sound with your mouth. Alligator bellows are also closed-mouth vocalizations, as are most of the ultrasonic vocalizations rodents make (including rat laughter!). It might help to think of theropods not necessarily as cooing--particularly because these larger animals can often sustain larger structures to resonate sound through in closed-mouth vocalizations--but perhaps instead as bellowing.
posted by sciatrix at 12:25 PM on July 13, 2018 [20 favorites]


The 2015 Chris Pratt Jurassic World movie was highly annoying, just using dinosaurs as monsters. Although it had its flaws, the first Jurassic Park movie was really a bit more interesting in terms of portraying how dinosaurs might have actually behaved.
posted by JamesBay at 12:47 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]




I invite anyone who thinks feathered dinosaurs are not cool to observe a live roadrunner or cassowary for a few minutes.

To say nothing of, like, golden eagles and such.

Those are really cool videos, Bloxworth! I hope you post more. :)
posted by tobascodagama at 1:12 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


I do like how in Jurassic World they put a lampshade on the fact that the "dinosaurs" of the park were in fact very little like the actual prehistoric creatures, via a little monologue by Henry Wu. It was the movie's way of acknowledging our understanding of dinosaurs is different than it was in the early 90s, when the first movie came out, and also its way of having its cake and eating it too.
posted by jscalzi at 1:28 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


I think I've had a post deleted as a double when actually it was two videos I linked to with the same text, which with hindsight was unhelpful of me…

Different closed-mouth vocalisations.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 1:37 PM on July 13, 2018


Clearly, we're just going to have to clone some Clever Girls and find out.
posted by CynicalKnight at 1:54 PM on July 13, 2018 [1 favorite]


It may not necessarily be scientifically accurate or rigorous, but it's interesting to speculate what a hadrosaur might sound like, and then compose music for him/her.

It's been a few years, and I wasn't involved in this but know the people who were. IIRC the skull cavity resonant structure was based on CT scans of a fossil, printed on a zcorp sls printer (and epoxy-impregnated); the overall skull was crafted from stacked, cut foam that was epoxied over. I can't remember how the larynx was done. I think it's partially a trombone-style slide and I think there was a stretchy balloon section in there too, but my memory is fuzzy.
posted by Alterscape at 4:03 PM on July 13, 2018 [4 favorites]


A propos nothing, but

they have a syrinx
son of a bitch, now I'm gonna have Rush in my head all weekend.
posted by notsnot at 6:16 PM on July 13, 2018 [2 favorites]


Deinonychus with feathers
posted by Brian B. at 8:44 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


the first Jurassic Park movie was really a bit more interesting in terms of portraying how dinosaurs might have actually behaved.

My dad was a scientific advisor on the first one, he will be proud to hear it! He traded hats with Spielberg on set and still has his somewhere.
I am not sure if there were scientific advisors on the sequels; I just know my dad wasn't invited for them.
posted by rmless at 9:42 AM on July 14, 2018 [5 favorites]


There’s a great blue turaco calling outside my room right now that sounds an awful lot like a velociraptor.
posted by devon at 10:25 AM on July 14, 2018 [1 favorite]


Cartoonist Abby Howard has released two books in her Earth Before Us series for kids and she is all about the feathered dinosaurs.
posted by PenDevil at 12:25 PM on July 14, 2018 [2 favorites]


I am not sure if there were scientific advisors on the sequels; I just know my dad wasn't invited for them.

Jack Horner is listed as a consultant on Jurassic World, but that's about it. The folks in charge of the sequels obviously aren't as interested in representing accurate dinosaurs (or telling a meaningful story) as Spielberg was.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:21 PM on July 14, 2018


Jack Horner is listed as a consultant on Jurassic World, but that's about it.

They didn't need any consultants on Jurrassic World, because it's a total ripoff of the original. It's practically a reboot.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:33 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


Closed-mouth vocalisations.
posted by Bloxworth Snout at 12:59 PM on July 13


I totally just connected to that bird at 2400 baud!
posted by Galaxor Nebulon at 9:19 AM on July 16, 2018 [1 favorite]


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