Mike Keesey  

In the Mesozoic, No One Can Hear You Scream

January 10th, 2006 by Mike Keesey :: see related comic

Well, almost. Gleich et al. 2005 extrapolated an osteological indicator of hearing range (namely, the length of the basilar papilla) from living archosaurs (primarily birds, also crocodylians) to Allosaurus, Archaeopteryx, and Brachiosaurus. Archaeopteryx, a mere bantamweight, could have heard the same ranges as a modern bird. But bigger dinosaurs like Allosaurus and especially Brachiosaurus had ranges significantly lower than that of us humans. Allosaurus‘ range probably cut off at around 3 kHz, the average pitch of a human scream. With Carnotaurus being of similar size to Allosaurus, it’s probably reasonable to assume the same for Carney.

(Not that he cares….)


  • Gleich, O., R. J. Dooling, and G. A. Manley. 2005 December. Audiogram, body mass, and basilar papilla length: correlations in birds and predictions for extinct archosaurs. Naturwissenschaften 92(12):595–598.

6 Responses to “In the Mesozoic, No One Can Hear You Scream”
Raymond wrote:

That’s amazing, so..maybe we should reconstruct the Phorusrachids and Gastornids as booming,roaring like Emus.Lots and lots of Bass :-D .Huh, you probably would’ved felt a T.rex’s roar rather than truely heard it.Not that it matters, you’re dead anyways after She smelled your reaction >:D

Mike Keesey wrote:

Do emus roar?

Phorusrhachids and gastornithids weren’t quite on par, sizewise, with Allosaurus, so I wouldn’t think they’d've had trouble with human screams. (In fact, Carnotaurus is a bit smaller than Allosaurus, too, so maybe Carney’s just pretending….)

Good point about the smell!

Raymond wrote:

Yes, Male Emus give off tremendous,booming roars during the mating season.

True, the largest Terror-birds were “only” about 500 kgs.

Keep up the good work!

Gyuhun wrote:

Very sad & unexpected. Harryhausen’s work was a sicafiignnt part of my childhood. My favorite parts of his movies were (& still are) the fight scenes involving large theropods (especially the Ceratosaurus/Triceratops & Gwangi/Elephant fight scenes).

Indri wrote:

The impacts of the sesqueter are both real and false. How can it be both? First, federal spending will be less than initially planned, which means less “stuff” will be purchased, some procurement orders will be reduced or cut back, some support contracts might not be exercised or not increased as much as originally planned, etc, etc. But the question that needs to be asked and answered is “is government doing what it should be doing, in the quantity and quality that is appropriate, and has excessive waste and mismanagement been removed?” The answer of course is a big fat NO. So, federal spending in the neighborhood of $3.6T is still too much federal government. Can some sesqueter impacts be measured? Sure, but so what.And lastly, if the $3.6T of federal spending is so critical, which it is not, then maybe the American public needs to start paying for all this “service”.

Nashwa wrote:

Take it from a former rtropeer journalists will not report non-news. Most of them will gin up a mild story and some of them have made up stories to have something to write, but they will not report that a plane took off, had an uneventful flight, and landed with all souls on board just peachy keen.The sequester is not news because it hasn’t really affected a whole lot. It’s as simple as that.

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