This talk aims to demonstrate how it is possible to reconstruct the sounds made by extinct Jurassic Period bush-crickets and their relatives. Ordinarily, the ecology and behaviour of an organism’s life history do not fossilize: thus, this can only be studied by combining our knowledge of extant species with unique fossil data to infer potential ecological interactions. This is particularly challenging for investigations of acoustic ecology, because sound production organs are rarely fossilized and often not well enough understood to infer acoustic signals from geometry alone. Here, I show how it is possible to reconstruct the sounds made by extinct ensiferan insects (Orthoptera) from a model that starts with a 150-year-old museum specimen and ends with an application to a 165-million-year-old fossil relative.
Charlie is a third-year PhD student at the University of Lincoln (UK) studying the evolution of bush-cricket acoustic communication. His project covers a range of topics, including comparative morphometrics of insect ears, the mechanics of sound production, the biophysics of hearing, and insect behaviour. Through collaborations and grants, Charlie has started to apply his knowledge of insects and acoustics to palaeontology, with ongoing projects on directional hearing in theropods, biophysical measurements of hearing in fossil orthopterans, and reconstructing the sounds of extinct insects.
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