Advances and Perspectives in the Study of the Evolution of the Vertebrate Auditory System

  • Geoffrey A. Manley
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 22)


The study of the evolution of the ear is only possible using two approaches. The first approach, looking at evolutionary changes in the structure of the ear in fossil organisms, is the obvious and most direct. In fact, this turns out to be remarkably difficult, since the ear region is not always well preserved in fossils, and soft tissue components of the ear almost never fossilize. Moreover, since (based on comparisons to modem animals) the bony components of the inner ear provide only a very rough idea of the full structure of the ear, this approach is obviously of limited usefulness. That is why most of the material of this book does not concern fossil organisms. Where useful information is to be had, for example concerning the structure of the middle ear (see Clack and Allin, Chapter 5) or of the dimensions of the basilar membrane in therian mammals (which alone among amniotes is supported by bone, see Vater et al., Chapter 9), it is discussed in this book. Of course, fossil organisms provide the foundation for our general-and in some cases rather detailed—understanding of the evolutionary relationships of the vertebrates (see Manley and Clack, Chapter 1), without which the second approach could not be used.


Hair Cell Basilar Membrane Interaural Time Difference Transduction Channel Superficial Neuromast 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2004

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  • Geoffrey A. Manley

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