While a huge amount of research has examined how plants and animals looked in the prehistoric past, we know extremely little about what these creatures would have sounded like (Dr. Alan Grant's 3D-printed raptor voice box in Jurassic Park 3 notwithstanding). But now, we finally have some idea of one noise that would have pierced the primeval woodlands 165 million years ago.
A group of Chinese paleontologists presented insect experts with a fossil of a Jurassic katydid. Through the analysis of its remains, the researchers were able to recreate the insect's sound. The specimen was well enough preserved that they were able to measure the stridulating organs on its wings and decipher the noises it would have made. Dubbed Archaboilus musicus, this is the first time such a reconstruction has been performed. According to Dr. Fernando Montealegre-Zapata, the Jurassic cricket would have made a tone pitched at 6.4kHz, created in 16 millisecond bursts, a sound they recreated in the video above:
Using a low-pitched song, A. musicus was acoustically adapted to long-distance communication in a lightly cluttered environment, such as a Jurassic forest. Today, all species of katydids that use musical calls are nocturnal so musical calls in the Jurassic were also most likely an adaptation to nocturnal life. Being nocturnal, Archaboilus musicus probably escaped from diurnal predators like Archaeopterix, but it cannot be ruled out that Jurassic insectivorous mammals like Morganucodon and Dryolestes also listened to the calls of Archaboilus and preyed on them.