A far cry

Published: Monday 15 November 1993

DINOSAURS in Stephen Spielberg's Jurassic Park may look authentic, but the sounds they make would not have been uttered by their long-dead ancestors. The best they could do was sound like a foghorn, says Matsumi Suzuki, director of Tokyo's Institute of Sound, who combined the sciences of palaeontology and acoustic engineering to work out what kind of noises dinosaurs were likely to have made (New Scientist, Vol 131, No 1890).

"Dinosaurs produced sounds by oscillating cartilage in their throats. The fossils are too old to retain any cartilage, so I had to estimate the amount of soft material from the cavities in the bones," says Suzuki.

His version of the cry of the formidable-looking Tyrannosaurus rex resembles the rumbling of a human stomach.

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