A Unique Mammalian Ear

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A new view of the mammalian ear may help explain why humans are more susceptible to ear infections and hearing loss. Mammalian ear development involves a rupture of the epithelium and its replacement by a completely different cell type, researchers have found. The findings indicate this process may be unique to mammals.

Read more about this research from the 22 March issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Hannah Thompson. Click the image for more information.]

© 2013 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

Rainforest Insect Hears Like a Human

The ear of the South American rainforest katydid sits on the insect’s hind legs, and it’s one of the smallest of all hearing organs. Yet, it is remarkably similar to the mammalian ear due to its three-part structure, Fernando Montealegre-Z at University of Lincoln in Lincoln, UK and colleagues report.

Read more about this research from the 16 November issue of Science here.

[Image courtesy of Daniel Robert & Fernando Montealegre-Z; click the image for more information.]

© 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

What Gives the Elephant Its Voice?

Elephants are great communicators and often converse with extremely low-pitched vocalizations, known as infrasounds, over vast distances. These infrasounds occupy a very low frequency range — lower than 20 Hertz, or cycles, per second — and they are sometimes too low to be perceived by human ears. But now, a new study from Christian Herbst of the University of Vienna and colleagues shows that elephants employ the same mechanism that produces sound in humans and many other mammals in order to hit those extremely low notes.

Watch a video and read more about this research from the 3 August issue of Science here.

[Photo by Angela S. Stoeger. Click the image for more information.]

© 2012 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.