Feeds

Prehistoric cricket love songs recreated for your listening pleasure

Throbbing Jurassic passion returns in boffin-mungous feat

Intelligent flash storage arrays

An international team of top boffins has quite literally left no stone unturned in its efforts to answer a highly unusual question: Just what did the love songs of the Jurassic era really sound like?

This is actually the mating music of a "primitive bush cricket", whose modern descendants are also known as katydids, which lived around 165 million years ago. Its "exceptionally detailed" fossilised remains were discovered by Chinese boffins from the Capital Normal University in Beijing and named Archaboilus musicus.

Naturally enough Jun-Jie Gu and Professor Dong Ren wanted to know just how their fossil bug would have sounded when alive. They contacted Dr Fernando Montealegre-Zapata and Professor Daniel Robert of Bristol uni here in the UK, who are "both experts in the biomechanics of singing and hearing in insects".

In a brace of shakes, having inspected the fossil's stridulating organs under an optical microscope, the Bristol experts were in action. We are told:

Following biomechanical principles that he discovered some years ago, Dr Montealegre-Z established that A musicus sang a tone pitched at 6.4kHz and that every bout of singing lasted 16 milliseconds. This turned out to be enough information to acoustically reconstruct the song itself, possibly the most ancient known musical song documented to date.

Dr Montealegre-Zapata adds:

“Using a low-pitched song, A musicus was acoustically adapted to long-distance communication in a lightly cluttered environment, such as a Jurassic forest ...

“This Jurassic bushcricket thus sheds light on the potential auditory capacity of other animals, and helps us learn a little more about the ambiance of a world long gone. It also suggests the evolutionary mechanisms that drove modern bushcrickets to develop ultrasonic signals for sexual pairing and for avoiding an increasingly relevant echolocating predator, but that only happened 100 million years later, possibly with the appearance of bats.”

Full boffinry detail is available in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
Canberra drone team dances a samba in Outback Challenge
CSIRO's 'missing bushwalker' found and watered
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.