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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: Flexible Ears Help Bats Tune In
16 November 2011 12:03 pm
Bats navigate by bouncing sounds off of objects (an ability known as echolocation), so perhaps it's no surprise that their ears work a lot like mini-radar dishes. Using a high-speed camera (tracking reflective landmarks on the bat's ear, as seen above) and 3D digital modeling, researchers have shown that bats bend their ears in various directions to listen for the echoes of their ultrasonic calls. Upright ears capture high-quality echoes from objects ahead, while ears bent downward and backward hear echoes from more directions but not as well. Reporting online this week in Physical Review Letters, the team suggests that bats tune their hearing to specific tasks. Bent ears are better for sweeping the area for potential prey, such as moths, or for predators like owls, while upright ears could zero in on prey when bats dive for an attack.
See more ScienceShots.