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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
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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.