Navigation Links
Study amplifies understanding of hearing in baleen whales
Date:4/17/2012

For decades, scientists have known that dolphins and other toothed whales have specialized fats associated with their jaws, which efficiently convey sound waves from the ocean to their ears. But until now, the hearing systems of their toothless grazing cousins, baleen whales, remained a mystery.

Unlike toothed whales, baleen whales do not have enlarged canals in their jaws where specialized fats sit. While toothed whales use echolocation to find prey, baleen whales generally graze on zooplankton, and so some scientists have speculated that baleen whales may not need such a sophisticated auditory system. But a new study by scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), published April 10, 2012, in The Anatomical Record, has shown that some baleen whales also have fats leading to their ears.

The scientists propose that toothed whales may not be the only whales that use fats to transmit sound in water, as previously believed, and the fats in both types of whales may share a common evolutionary origin.

Little progress had been made on the auditory anatomy of baleen whales because specimens to study are hard to get. Unlike many toothed whales, they are large, not kept in captivity, rarely strand on beaches, and decompose rapidly when they do.

For the new study, lead author Maya Yamato, a graduate student in the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, received seven heads of minke whales that stranded and died, mostly on beaches on Cape Cod. She collaborated with the International Fund for Animal Welfare's (IFAW) Marine Mammal Rescue and Research unit in Yarmouth Port, Mass.

The whale heads were scanned using computerized tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at the Computerized Scanning and Imaging (CSI) lab at WHOI and MRI facility at Massachusetts Ear and Eye Infirmary in Boston. Using these biomedical techniques, the researchers generated 3-D visualizations of the whales' internal anatomy, with both bones and soft tissue intact and in their undisturbed natural positions, providing "an unprecedented view of the internal anatomy of these animals," the scientists wrote.

Then the whale heads were dissected in the necropsy facility at the Marine Mammal Center at WHOI. Together, the studies showed that all the minke whales had "a large, well-formed fat body" connecting to the ears, providing a potential transmission pathway guiding sound from the environment to their inner ears.

"This is the first successful study of intact baleen whale head anatomy with these advanced imaging techniques," said WHOI Senior Scientist Darlene Ketten, director of the CSI lab at WHOI and co-author on the paper. "It really is an important addition to our understanding of large whale head and auditory systems."


'/>"/>

Contact: WHOI Media Relations
media@whoi.edu
508-289-3340
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Large international study finds memory in adults impacted by versions of 4 genes
2. UF receives $1 million from Keck Foundation to study mechanisms of inherited disease
3. Whats in a surname? New study explores what the evolution of names reveals about China
4. U of I study: Lose body weight before gaining baby weight
5. Study resolves debate on human cell shut-down process
6. Study shows botanical formula fights prostate cancer
7. Approach to diabetes self-management too narrow, study suggests
8. Study finds peoples niceness may reside in their genes
9. Loyola study debunks common myth that urine is sterile
10. UCSB study shows forest insects and diseases arrive in US via imported plants
11. Head and body lice appear to be the same species, genetic study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt is excited ... with VoicePass. By working together, VoiceIt ...  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly different approaches ... increases both security and usability. ... about this new partnership. "This marketing ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... and BANGALORE, India , April 28, 2016 ... a product subsidiary of Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), ... a global partnership that will provide end customers ... mobile banking and payment services.      (Logo: ... innovation area for financial services, but it also plays a ...
(Date:4/15/2016)...  A new partnership announced today will help ... in a fraction of the time it takes ... life insurance policies to consumers without requiring inconvenient ... Diagnostics, rapid testing (A1C, Cotinine and HIV) and ... weight, pulse, BMI, and activity data) available at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... May 20, 2016 , ... The leading Regenerative Veterinary ... most experienced veterinary clients have treated over 100 of their own patients with the ... provide the highest level of care for their patients. , The veterinarians are ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... ... May 19, 2016 , ... Anton Paar USA, located in Ashland, Virginia is ... complete. The new structure adds a third office building to the current facilities. ... 2.4 acres of land, along with office space adjacent to the previous main building. ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... 2016 Regen BioPharma, ... RGBPP) announced today initiation of a preclinical development ... based cancer immunotherapeutic product leveraging its NR2F6 immunological ... a generation of cord blood derived killer cells ...  The product in development will be a "universal ...
(Date:5/18/2016)... 18, 2016 The Biotech industry continues ... mean that there are no opportunities ahead. Today, ActiveWallSt.com has ... THLD ), Seattle Genetics Inc. (NASDAQ: ... Ophthotech Corp. (NASDAQ: OPHT ). Sign up now ... http://www.activewallst.com/ Threshold Pharmaceuticals Inc.,s shares ...
Breaking Biology Technology: