Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Snakes Hear in Stereo

10.01.2008
Paul Friedel, Bruce A. Young, and J. Leo van Hemmen Physical Review Letters (forthcoming)

Physicists from the University Munich in Germany and the University of Topeka, Kansas have strong new evidence that snakes can hear through their jaws. Snakes don't have outer ears, leading to the myth that they can't hear at all.

But they do have complete inner ear systems, including functional cochlea, which are carefully connected to and stimulated by their lower jaw. Resting on the ground, a snake's jaw can detect vibrations as small as an angstrom in amplitude (a motion roughly as large the diameter of a single atom), which act like sound waves to the inner ear.

The physicists performed a geometric study of the anatomy of horned desert vipers as well as the ground waves created by the footfalls of their prey. They showed mathematically that the jaw-to-cochlea system is sensitive to the frequencies of the prey's ground vibrations.

From their analysis, the physicists also found that the snake's notorious ability to unhinge their jaws and swallow their prey whole means that the right and left side of their jaws can receive vibrations independently, and the snakes hear in stereo.

The paper provides data supporting the theory that as the cochlea is stimulated, the snake’s auditory neurons create a topological map of its environment. Thus, as experiments have shown, some snakes can catch their prey using only vibration cues.

The physicists believe their study shows that ground vibrations to the lower jaw should be regarded as a significant source of sensory input for the snakes, and that this finding strongly supports the idea of the auditory stimulation creating a neural map. - CC

James Riordon | American Physical Society
Further information:
http://www.aps.org

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A better way to weigh millions of solitary stars
15.12.2017 | Vanderbilt University

nachricht A chip for environmental and health monitoring
15.12.2017 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>