The Evolution of Single- and Multiple-Ossicle Ears in Fishes and Tetrapods

  • Jennifer A. Clack
  • Edgar Allin
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 22)


The Ostariophysi are the hearing specialists of the ray-finned world. They are placed cladistically within the euteleosts and include the gonorynchiforms and a much larger group called the Otophysi (see Fig. 5.1 for a phylogeny of the taxa referred to in this chapter). The otophysans are distinguished by having some of the anterior neural arches and supraneurals modified into the “Weberian apparatus.” This system of interarticulating elements is intimately connected to the swim bladder, and forms a unique sound transmission system. Although lacking the Weberian apparatus, other euteleosts nonetheless have hearing capabilities, if not always as acute as those of the otophysans. Weberian ossicles, however, represent a hearing apparatus whose evolution can be traced in the fossil record.


Tympanic Membrane Fenestra Vestibuli Otic Capsule Skull Roof Skull Length 
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  • Jennifer A. Clack
  • Edgar Allin

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