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Study: Dinosaurs “cooed” instead of roared

by Brandon Russell | July 16, 2016July 16, 2016 10:00 am PST


The loud, threatening roars from dinosaurs depicted in movies such as Jurassic Park are likely inaccurate, new research suggests. That’s right: Hollywood’s representation of science might be wrong, which means big, bad dinosaurs probably didn’t roar. Instead, a new study claims the sound they made was more of a deep-throated mumble.

The new study says the vocal organs found in fossilized dinosaurs suggests many of them likely vocalized their threats with a closed-mouth, rather than the open-mouthed roars seen in movies. Think of the noises they made much like the disapproving grunts your dad makes over dinner. “Ugh,” and “hmm.” Maybe even an “umm.”

“To make any kind of sense of what nonavian dinosaurs sounded like, we need to understand how living birds vocalize,” explained Julia Clarke, who co-authored the newest paper published in Evolution. “This makes for a very different Jurassic world. Not only were dinosaurs feathered, but they may have had bulging necks and made booming, close-mouthed sounds.”

That seems far less terrifying than what we’ve seen portrayed on film, but I imagine coming face-to-face with a Tyrannosaurus Rex would still have been a frightening experience, roar or not. While the new study provides compelling evidence about what dinosaurs may have sounded like, the truth is we will likely never know. Previous studies suggested they sounded more like snakes or crocodiles, while others back up the bird theory.

Inaccurate or not, I still prefer my dinosaurs to roar.

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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...