BOB HIRSHON (host):
An extinct beaver’s voice? I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.
(SFX: Sound of giant beaver skull)
Could giant beavers in ancient North America have made a sound like this one? It’s produced by blowing air through a chamber in the extinct rodents’ huge skulls, suggesting that the they may have used the structure to communicate. Vertebrate paleontologist Caroline Rinaldi of the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine says the creatures were the size of black bears. They lacked the chisel-shaped teeth of modern beavers, so they probably didn’t build dams, but they did live in the water.
CAROLINE RINALDI (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine):
Being able to produce a sound that can be carried above and below the water we think this would be of evolutionary benefit to an animal like a giant beaver.
Nonetheless, the beavers went extinct about 10,000 years ago.
Along with other large mammals like mammoths and saber-toothed cats and wild horses that lived in North America.
I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.