Figure 1: Three-dimensional vocal cord reconstructions. | Nature

Figure 1: Three-dimensional vocal cord reconstructions.

From: Ancient avian aria from Antarctica

Figure 1

a, Clarke et al.3 identified the sound-producing syrinx vocal organ in a fossil of the bird Vegavis iaai from the Late Cretaceous (69 million to 66 million years ago) of Antarctica. Using three-dimensional reconstruction techniques, the authors generated the image shown of the syrinx. The structure has an expanded tracheobronchial region (bracket) at the junction between the lung and the windpipe, and some fused cartilage rings. b, A reconstruction of a syrinx from a present-day duck shows many similarities to the overall arrangement of the V. iaai syrinx in a. c, By contrast, in a present-day alligator (a representative of the group of living animals that are most closely related to modern birds), the tracheobronchial region (bracket) is not expanded and the syrinx does not possess fused cartilage rings.

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