Cochlear structural variants in echolocators

TitleCochlear structural variants in echolocators
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsKetten, D. R., J. Simmons, H. Riquimaroux, S. R. Cramer, and J. J. Arruda
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Start Page3423
Date Published04/2012
Type of ArticleScientific
Keywordsbat, cochlea, cochlear structure, echolocat, echolocators, micro ct, micro-ct imaging, microchiropteran, odontocte, sonar, ultrasonic

Although microchiropteran bats and odontocete cetaceans operate in radically different media, both have sophisticated sonar capabilities and evident similarities in their ability to detect and analyze ultrasonic signals. This paper compares the similarities and differences of cochlear cytoarchitecture and its implications for ultrasonic encoding and acuity amongst these groups through the use of three-dimensional models obtained via micro-CT imaging of intact heads and temporal bones. Inner ear anatomy was fundamentally similar with notable parallels in fenestral placement and ratios, membrane dimensions, and neural density and distribution across bats and dolphins with common cochlear types. Specialist ears are present in both groups, suggesting that like some CF-CM bats, one or more odontocete species have cochleae with specialized basilar membrane “foveal” regions. Cochlear specializations in both groups are primarily linked to peak spectra of signal, expanded frequency representation, and may enhance tuning in adjacent ear segments by generating standing wave phenomena. [Supported by N45- US Navy Environmental Division and the Office of Naval Research]
Refereed DesignationRefereed