Morphological Adaptations of the Sound Conducting Apparatus in Echolocating Mammals

  • Gerald Fleischer
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (volume 28)


Echolocating mammals, bats, porpoises and dolphins, have a sound conducting apparatus in their middle ear which is fundamentally similar. In both groups there is a tympanic membrane, or its equivalent, an ossicular chain, composed of malleus, incus, and stapes, as well as two well-developed middle ear muscles. Also in both groups the malleus is fused to the tympanic bone, the auditory ossicles are separated from each other by thin layers of soft tissue, and the middle ear cavity is filled with air. In appearance, however, the sound conducting apparatus in bats is very much different from that in odontocetes.


Vibrational Mode Tympanic Membrane Morphological Adaptation Ossicular Chain Oval Window 
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  1. Fleischer, G., 1978, Evolutionary Principles of the Mammalian Middle Ear. Advances in Anatomy, Embrol., and Cell Biology, (Springer-Verlag; Berlin, Heidelberg, New York) 55:5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

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  • Gerald Fleischer

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