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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: Spotted Seals Have Amphibious Ears
27 February 2014 10:45 am
Whether by land or sea, spotted seals have excellent hearing, a new study finds. Scientists had suspected that seals use sound to hunt in dark Arctic waters. But spotted seals (Phoca largha) also spend time above the water, while giving birth or nursing their pups on ice floes. Researchers trained two orphaned spotted seal pups from Alaska—Amak and Tunu—to touch a target with their noses when they heard a tone. By testing a range of frequencies, they found that seals detect seven octaves of sound underwater. But they have surprisingly good hearing in the air as well, researchers reported online yesterday in The Journal of Experimental Biology. The seals hear four octaves, with sensitivity similar to land carnivores, such as cats. The research is the first step to understanding how human noise in the Arctic from commercial shipping and the use of seismic air guns for undersea oil exploration may be affecting the seals’ sensitive hearing.