All about the bass: How baleen whales hear very low frequencies

February 3, 2015 3:26 PM

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All about the bass: How baleen whales hear very low frequencies

Baleen whales, the largest creatures on Earth, can send extremely low-frequency underwater calls to one another. But little is known about how they actually process these sounds. Now, researchers have found that the whales have specialized skulls that can capture the energy of low frequencies and direct it toward their ear bones to hear.

Baleen whales, which use baleen plates in their mouths to filter out tiny organisms and other food from the ocean, have two ways of hearing sound, the researchers found. If the sound waves are short — that is, shorter than the whale's body — the sound's pressure waves can travel through the whale's ...

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