One of my favorite songbirds, Tuffy the Tufted Titmouse delights me whenever he opens his beak and warbles away, using a marvelous vocal organ that we humans sadly lack, called a syrinx.
So I became quite excited to read that one of the earliest birds —a curious creature called Vegavis iaai —possessed a syrinx as well! The Vegavis lived on some islands off the coast of Antarctica some 66 million years ago, in the same era when T. Rex stalked the earth—and of course songbirds today are famous as descendants of dinos! So my mind started racing with the idea of singing Argentinosauri, the awesome, 90-meter-long Carusos and Pavarottii of the Jurassic age!
Not to be, alas. CAT scans of numerous dinosaurs, from teeny Microraptors on up, have failed to provide us with evidence of even a single, marvelous music-producing syrinx.
But we may console ourselves with dreams of love-struck Brontosauri billing and cooing—not unlike pigeons and ostriches do with one another today. Paleontologists reassure us that some of our dinosaur heros cooed and honked, making sounds not quite as delightful as Titmice, and perhaps not on key, but still…
Amorous T. Rex may even have purred.