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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Image of hedgehog inner ear

Working with the well-known Heffner group from the University of Toledo, Matt Mason has been investigating how ear structure in African pygmy hedgehogs relates to their audiogram and other aspects of hearing. Features of the middle ear apparatus which are sometimes considered primitive, found not just in hedgehogs but in a wide range of other mammals, have been found to be linked to an inability to hear frequencies below 400 Hz. This clear structure-function relationship will help us to predict the hearing abilities of animals known only as skulls or fossils, and has implications for the evolution of hearing within mammals.

The work has just been published in Journal of Comparative Physiology A: