Evolution of the Amphibian Ear

  • Michael Smotherman
  • Peter Narins
Part of the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research book series (SHAR, volume 22)


Most amphibians have within their ears the substrate to hear efficiently underwater, underground, and in air, a talent few if any other vertebrates can lay claim to. They have achieved this by being very conservative in the nature of novel addition s and specialized adaptations to their ears. Indeed, regressive events appear to be just as common as progressive trends in the evolution of the amphibian ear. As a result, the amphibian ear reflects a diverse array of basically simple, presumably reliable mechanisms of auditory transduction; mechanisms that have in essence served as the foundations of the more sophisticated hearing apparati seen in other terrestrial vertebrates. Understanding of the mechanisms of hearing in amphibians can thus offer many insights into the physical and ecological forces that have fueled the evolution of hearing in terrestrial vertebrates.


Hair Cell Sensory Epithelium Oval Window Tectorial Membrane Basilar Papilla 
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  • Michael Smotherman
  • Peter Narins

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