Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Study: Annoying Ducks Who Loved To Honk Probably Woke Up The Dinosaurs Every Morning

One of the greatest plights human beings face is loud-ass birds waking us up too early every morning. Roosters … uh, birds in trees, etc. But now, thanks to a new study, we know that living creatures have suffered annoying birdcalls for about 68 million years, 66 million longer than previously thought, which means that even big, scary dinosaurs had to put up with that shit.

The birds that would’ve woken up the dinos would sound more like “living ducks” than anything else, according to Julia Clarke, an associate professor at the University of Texas in Austin, and the lead author of the study published in Nature.

The Agence France-Presse reports Clarke and her colleagues based their findings on the recent discovery of avian voice box, called a syrinx, in Antartica, which they said was about 68 million years old.  Prior to that discovery, the oldest known syrinx was believed to be just over 2.5 million years old.

The newly-discovered fossilized syrinx, which belongs to the Vegavis iaai species, suggests “the capacity to produce calls like honks or whistles,” as Clarke said. Or, as the AFP put it: “[I]f it looks like a duck or goose, it probably quacks or honks like one too.” Here’s more on the loud, long-dead bird, from the AFP:

V. iaai was already famous among paleontologists as the only true bird — as opposed to a flying dinosaur — known to have lived during the 186-million year Mesozoic Era.

There may have been others, yet to be discovered.

The Antarctica syrinx shows “that birds were calling to each other over the heads of dinosaurs,” Clarke said.

It’s no real consolation to having your sleep disrupted by a chatty bird, but it is funny to imagine a huge, fierce tyrannosaurus-rex being woken from his slumber by an ancient duck talking to his buds.

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