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First bird had hearing like emu's

First bird had hearing like emu's

Archaeopteryx, the first known bird, had a hearing range similar to the modern-day emu's, according to a study published yesterday that boosts the avian claims of this descendant of the dinosaurs.
About the size and shape of a European magpie, Archaeopteryx lithographica appeared on the scene around 150 million years ago, in the Jurassic era. The first fossil was unearthed in Bavaria, southern Germany, in 1861, and so far eight specimens have come to light.
Scientists at the Natural History Museum in London used a computed tomography (CT) scanner to make a 3-D picture of the inner ear of Archaeopteryx, modern birds and reptiles. Their area of interest was the cochlear duct - the bony part of the inner ear that houses the sensory tissue. The size of this duct is a good indicator of an animal's hearing range.
According to their calculations, Archaeopteryx had an average hearing range of approximately 2,000 hertz.
"This means it had similar hearing to modern emus, which have some of the most limited hearing ranges of modern birds," said palaeontologist Paul Barrett.
By comparison, the human voice is general in the range of 80 to 1,100 Hz, and good human hearing runs from around 20 to 20,000 Hz.
The study, appearing in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, could unlock new clues about the enigmatic Archaeopteryx, the authors hope.
A long debate has raged over this species, with some experts arguing that its mixture of features show it to be more a feathery theropod - or two-footed dino - than a primitive bird. But the paper gives a powerful push to the pro-avian camp.
"This adds yet more information about how bird-like Archaopteryz was," team member Angela Milner said in a press release.
"Our previous research has shown that the part of the ear that controls balance was just like that of modern birds. Now we know that Archaeopteryx had bird-like hearing, too."


Updated : 2021-08-05 22:51 GMT+08:00