Convergent evolution between insect and mammalian audition

Montealegre-Z, Fernando, Jonsson, Thorin, Robson-Brown, Kate A. , Postles, Matthew and Robert, Daniel (2012) Convergent evolution between insect and mammalian audition. Science, 338 (6109). pp. 968-971. ISSN 0036-8075

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In mammals, hearing is dependent on three canonical processing stages: (i) an eardrum collecting sound, (ii) a middle ear impedance converter, and (iii) a cochlear frequency analyzer. Here, we show that some insects, such as rainforest katydids, possess equivalent biophysical
mechanisms for auditory processing. Although katydid ears are among the smallest in all organisms, these ears perform the crucial stage of air-to-liquid impedance conversion and signal amplification, with the use of a distinct tympanal lever system. Further along the chain of hearing, spectral sound analysis is achieved through dispersive wave propagation across a fluid substrate, as in the mammalian cochlea. Thus, two phylogenetically remote organisms, katydids and mammals, have evolved a series of convergent solutions to common biophysical problems, despite their reliance on very different morphological substrates.

Keywords:Biomechanics, Evolution, human hearing, insect ears, cochlea
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C990 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified
H Engineering > H340 Acoustics and Vibration
C Biological Sciences > C182 Evolution
F Physical Sciences > F380 Acoustics
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:6852
Deposited On:17 Nov 2012 13:43

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