Scientists Find Out How Whales Adapted to Hearing Underwater

Scientists Find Out How Whales Adapted to Hearing Underwater


A recent research report states that the hearing abilities of whales has changed and improved over many millions of years. Today, whales can hear very high-or-low-pitched sounds, a feature that has evolved through centuries. While observing CT scans of ancient whale ear bones scientists found that whale hearing has undergone drastic transformations. The present-day whales have super-hearing abilities that allows them to communicate over long distances. This ability is used by them to locate a prey with calls that human cannot detect or understand.

CT Scan Shows Ancient Whales Lacked Ultrasonic Hearing

CT scan of two fossilized whales shows that their inner ear bone were starting to form features that are similar to what modern-day whales have. However, certain parts such as the coiling and the diameter of the cochlear canal resembled the average, land-based relatives. To a great extent the shape of the inner ear plays an instrumental role in determining the frequencies it is likely to pick up. The earlier whales clearly lacked ultrasonic and infrasonic hearing abilities. The whales that were scanned are probably 43-46 million years old and they are understood to be between modern whales and land-mammals as they legs allowed them to come ashore and to swim in deep waters.

Researchers say that they their teeth indicate that the ancient whales hunted for fish but the shape of their skull shows that they could not echolocate, which the modern whales can do. The report also says that midrange hearing these whales is not at all surprising as they had to adapt to communicate underwater.