Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Beaked Whales Actually Hear Through Their Throats

ScienceDaily (2008-02-08) -- Researchers have been using computer models to mimic the effects of underwater noise on an unusual whale species and have discovered a new pathway for sound entering the head and ears. Since 1968, it has been believed that noise vibrations travel through the thin bony walls of toothed whales' lower jaw and onto the fat body attached to the ear complex. This research shows however that the thin bony walls do not transmit the vibrations. In fact they enter through the throat and then pass to the bony ear complex via a unique fatty channel.