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Tuesday September 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Tuesday September 10, 2013 MYT 7:41:06 AM
A Gardiner’s frog, a tiny frog that has no middle ear or eardrums, yet is able to hear with its mouth. — AFP
Gardiner's frogs thought to be deaf but prove otherwise.
SOME of the tiniest frogs on Earth have no middle ears or eardrums, but can hear by using their mouths, scientists have found. Gardiner’s frogs live in the rainforests of the Seychelles, a series of 115 small islands in the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar.
Most frogs have eardrums on the outside of their heads. The eardrums vibrate when incoming sound waves hit, sending the vibrations to the inner ear, then the brain. But not the wee Gardiner’s frogs, which measure about 1cm long – the size of a thumbtack.
Researchers thought the creatures might be deaf, until they tested them by playing pre-recorded sounds of other frogs croaking. They found that male Gardiner’s frogs croaked back, as if in conversation, proving they could hear.
Scientists realised that the frog’s mouth acts as an amplifier for the sound frequencies the frog emits. The system is boosted by a very small amount of thin tissue between the mouth and inner ear.
The findings in the US journal Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences add to what is known about how some creatures, including frogs and turtles, evolved the ability to hear. — AFP
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