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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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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.