Scientists from the University of Bristol have discovered that crickets sang different love songs during the pre-historic age (approximately 165 million years ago), compared to the ones they chirp now.
The researchers discovered that primitive bush crickets and croaking amphibians were among the first animals to produce loud sounds... they did so by rubbing certain parts of their body together. They then re-created that sound by analyzing the fossil of a bush cricket, found in China.
The scientists used high-powered microscopes to analyse the wing structures of the fossilized cricket and examined its song apparatus. They then compared it to that of 59 other living species of the bush cricket and that was when they found this fossilized bush cricket fossil produced different musical songs.
According to the scientists, the ancient bush cricket species could sing loudly and clearly in a particularly tone to attract the females. However, neither the volume nor the tone (as it is always the case) would actually attract the females if they weren't so inclined.
Modern-day bush crickets produce mating calls by rubbing a row of teeth on one wing against the other. It had been presumed that their ancient cousins produced sounds by similar mechanisms, until now.
"This Jurassic bushcricket thus sheds light on the potential auditory capacity of other animals, and helps us learn a little more about the ambiance of a world long gone. It also suggests the evolutionary mechanisms that drove modern bushcrickets to develop ultrasonic signals for sexual pairing and for avoiding an increasingly relevant echolocating predator, but that only happened 100 million years later, possibly with the appearance of bats," said Dr. Fernando Montealegre-Zapata from the University of Bristol.
Listen to the Jurassic Bush Cricket