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Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

How Filmmakers Decide How Their Movie Monsters Will Sound

Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures
Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

Bringing a movie monster to life on the big screen is more complicated than throwing in some CGI. There’s also the matter of sound. While the dinosaurs in 1993's Jurassic Park did exist at one point, we don’t know anything about the noises they made. King Kong isn’t like any gorilla on Earth, so how should he sound when he roars? The Verge explores this conundrum in the video below.

When it comes to dinosaurs, paleontologists look to their cousins—birds and crocodiles—for vocal clues. Perhaps dinos might have made booming, low-frequency sounds like both crocodiles and ostriches do. But scientists do think they know what one dinosaur sounded like. The duck-billed dinosaur likely sounded something like a didgeridoo when it breathed, based on the shape of its head. In 1997's Jurassic Park: The Lost World, the filmmakers recorded cows as stand-ins for the duck-billed dinos. The noises are in the same ballpark, but they're definitely more high pitched.

It turns out, movies about raising extinct species aren’t always scientifically accurate. Listen to the dino sounds (both scientific and Hollywood-produced) for yourself:

[h/t The Verge]

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Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
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Feathers, Fighting, and Feet: A Brief History of Dinosaur Art
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

One of the first-known works of dinosaur art was The country of the Iguanodon, an 1837 watercolor by John Martin. It depicts the ancient reptiles as giant iguanas, thrashing and fighting near a stone quarry—a far cry from today's sophisticated 3D renderings.

By watching the PBS Eons video below, you can learn how our image of dinosaurs has changed over the centuries, thanks to artworks based on new scientific discoveries and fossil findings. Find out why artists decided to give the prehistoric creatures either feathers or scales, make them either active or sluggish, present them as walking on two or four feet, and to imagine tails that either dragged or lifted, among other features.

Keep in mind, however, that both emerging technologies and new findings are constantly changing the way scientists view dinosaurs. A new species, on average, is named every two weeks—and this research will likely keep artists busy (and constantly revising their work) for years to come.

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Pop Chart Lab
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Epic Poster Features Over 100 Hand-Drawn Illustrations of Dinosaurs
Pop Chart Lab
Pop Chart Lab

Paleontologists are constantly discovering new dinosaurs (or questioning whether beloved species ever existed in the first place), so it's hard to keep track of every dino that ever existed. But if you want an up-to-date catalogue of the most significant beasts from the Triassic to the Cretaceous periods, this taxonomy poster from Pop Chart Lab is tough to beat.

Titled Dinosauria, the chart organizes more than 700 genera of dinosaurs into one easy-to-read infographic. All of the standard favorites are represented, like Triceratops and T. Rex, as well as some more obscure or newly discovered prehistoric reptiles like Conchoraptor and Psittacosaurus. Pop Chart Lab pulled its data from the most current classification systems, even including research published just this year that unifies ornithischians with theropods.


The 100 hand-drawn illustrations and accompanying taxonomic timeline took over 500 hours of research to design. Hanging it on your wall at home requires a lot less effort: You can order a 24-inch-by-36-inch print for $37 from Pop Chart Lab’s online store.

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