Dinosaurs Connections

From Dinosaurs to Birds

What did Archaeopteryx hear?

Many scientists believe the Archaeopteryx was both the earliest bird and a dinosaur. Now scientists may have another piece of evidence to connect birds and dinosaurs: a study in 2009 discovered that the Archaeopteryx had a hearing range similar to that of the modern emu. This conclusion was based on the size of the cochlear duct, part of the creature’s inner ear that contains sensory tissue. Analysis of the ducts on emus and a fossil Archaeopteryx revealed that the dinosaur had an average hearing range of 2,000 hertz (humans hear from 20 to 20,000 hertz), which is a number similar to the modern emu. (The emu, by the way, has one of the most limited hearing ranges among modern birds.)


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