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Beak clapping in shoebill storks and Pteranodon

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After building a full scale Pteranodon skeleton (Fig. 1) with a hinged jaw,
(based on the Triebold specimen) several decades ago, I noticed the possibility of some sort of loud clapping noise that could be made by snapping the jaws shut over and over, like clapping hands. This was made possible by the tight fit of the jaw lines amplified by the hollow elements.

Lo and behold, this very short and delightful YouTube video of a shoebill stork
(genus: Balaeniceps) exhibits the same behavior, this time with a soundtrack. The headline says, “it sounds like a gun fight.” And it does!

Let your imagination take you back
to the Late Cretaceous shores of Hays, Kansas, where flocks of Pteranodon (Fig. 1) were advertising their availability, saying ‘good morning’ or bitching to their neighbors in much the same fashion.


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