Thursday, March 6, 2008

How snakes hear sounds

For years it was assumed that snakes couldn't hear, that they sensed prey by smell, taste, and in some species, special heat-sensing pits near the nose. Basic experiments during the 1970s showed snakes could hear, but didn't explain how. Now we know. US and German research shows that snakes have two hearing systems, one via their jaws, providing valuable insight into snake evolution. After a sound is picked up by a snake's jawbones, it travels into the cochlea, where nerves pick up the signal and transmit it to the brain. By hearing through their jaw bone and through a traditional ear, snakes essentially evolved a second way to hear, say the researchers. Source:

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