Whales can adjust their hearing

by Rebecca on May 17, 2012

in Animal Stories

By Victoria Gill Science reporter, BBC Nature

See Kina the false killer whale hunting for fish using her echolocation “buzz”

For many whales and dolphins, the world is shaped by sound; they hunt and navigate by listening for echoes. Navigating in this way requires super-sensitive hearing. And scientists have now found that, for some whales, this sense is adjustable. Researchers in Hawaii measured the hearing of a female false killer whale, and found that she could fine-tune her most crucial sense.

Kina the false killer whale (c) Paul Nachtigall/ University of Hawaii
Sensors attached to suction cups on Kina’s body took measurements of her brain activity.
The whale would “turn down” her hearing when she anticipated a loud noise.


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