New paper shows whale ears “float” in their heads

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In a new paper published March 11, scientists illustrate how marine mammals adapted their hearing to the underwater environment by evolving their inner and middle ears. These parts of their ears actually “float” inside of their heads, separate from their skulls that vibrate from underwater sound waves. This allows the marine mammals to hear more clearly and isolate the direction sound is coming from.

The paper was published in the peer reviewed journal PLOS One by Nick Pyenson, curator of fossil mammals at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., and his colleague Maya Yamato, a whale biologist at the Smithsonian as well.

Read the full article here.