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Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience


Please click on the titles of the papers below to find brief summaries of the work, further details about the papers and links to the published abstracts and papers themselves. Please contact me if you would like to be sent reprint copies of any of these papers.


Mammalian research

Mason, M.J. & Lewis, M.A. (2024) Structure and scaling of the middle ear in domestic dog breeds. Journal of Anatomy: In press.

Burford, C.M., Cornwall, H.L., Farr, M.R.B., Santoni, C.M., Mason, M.J. (2023) Development and anatomy of the human middle ear. In: Goycoolea, M.V., Selaimen da Costa, S., de Souza, C., Paparella, M.M. (eds) Textbook of Otitis Media, pp.29-48. Springer, Cham.

Cheon, H.L., Kjelstrup, S., Kizilova, N., Flekkøy, E.G.,  Mason, M.J. & Folkow, L.P. (2023) Structure-function relationships in the nasal cavity of Arctic and subtropical seals. Biophysical Journal 122: 4686-4698.

Flekkøy, E.G., Folkow, L.P., Kjelstrup, S., Mason, M.J. & Wilhelmsen, Ø. (2023) Thermal modeling of the respiratory turbinates in Arctic and subtropical seals. Journal of Thermal Biology 112: 103402.

Goyens, J., Baeckens, S., Smith, E.S., Pozzi, J. & Mason, M.J. (2022) Parallel evolution of semicircular canal form and sensitivity in subterranean mammals. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 208: 627-640.

Heffner, R.S., Koay, G., Heffner, H.E. & Mason, M.J. (2022) Hearing in African pygmy hedgehogs (Atelerix albiventris): audiogram, sound localization, and ear anatomy. Journal of Comparative Physiology A: 208: 653–670.

Manoharan, S.M., Gray, R., Hamilton, J. & Mason, M.J. (2022) Internal vascular channel architecture in human auditory ossicles. Journal of Anatomy 241: 245-258.

Buffenstein, R. ... Mason, M.J. ... & Smith, E.S. (2022) The naked truth: a comprehensive clarification and classification of current 'myths' in naked mole-rat biologyBiological Reviews 97: 115-140.

Mason, M.J., Wenger, L.M.D., Hammer, Ø. & Blix, A.S. (2020) Structure and function of respiratory turbinates in phocid seals. Polar Biology 43: 157-173.

Malkemper, E.P., Mason, M.J. & Burda, H. (2020) Functional anatomy of the middle and inner ears of the red fox, in comparison to domestic dogs and cats. Journal of Anatomy 236: 980-995.

Basso, A.P., Sidorkewicj, N.S., Casanave, E.B., Mason, M.J. (2020) The middle ear of the pink fairy armadillo Chlamyphorus truncatus (Xenarthra, Cingulata, Chlamyphoridae): comparison with armadillo relatives using computed tomography. Journal of Anatomy 236: 809-826.

Mason, M.J. & Wenger, L.M.D. (2019) Mechanisms of vibration detection in mammals. In: Biotremology: Studying Vibrational Behavior. Hill, P.S.M. et al. (eds). Cham: Springer.

Mason, M.J., Bennett, N.C. & Pickford, M. (2019) A fossil chrysochlorid skull in the Ditsong National Museum of Natural History: Robert Broom’s missing specimen unearthed? Palaeontologia Africana 53: 207-218.

Mason, M.J., Bennett, N.C. & Pickford, M. (2018) The middle and inner ears of the Palaeogene golden mole Namachloris: a comparison with extant species. Journal of Morphology 279: 375-395.

Mason, M.J., Cornwall, H.L. & Smith, E.S. (2016) Ear structures of the naked mole-rat, Heterocephalus glaber, and its relatives (Rodentia: Bathyergidae). PLoS ONE 11(12): e0167079.

Burford, C.M. & Mason, M.J. (2016) Early development of the malleus and incus in humans. Journal of Anatomy 229: 857-870.

Mason, M.J. (2016) Internally coupled ears in living mammals. Biological Cybernetics 110: 345-358.

Mason, M.J. (2016) Structure and function of the mammalian middle ear. I: Large middle ears in small desert mammals. Journal of Anatomy 228: 284-299.

Mason, M.J. (2016) Structure and function of the mammalian middle ear. II: Inferring function from structure. Journal of Anatomy 228: 300-312.

Mason, M.J. (2015) Functional morphology of rodent middle ears. In: Evolution of the Rodents: Advances in Phylogeny, Functional Morphology and Development, pp.373-404. Cox, P.G. & Hautier, L. (eds). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Zaytseva, A.S., Volodin, I.A, Mason, M.J., Frey, R., Fritsch, G., Ilchenko, O.G. & Volodina, E.V. (2015) Vocal development during postnatal growth and ear morphology in a shrew that generates seismic vibrations, Diplomesodon pulchellum. Behavioural Processes 118: 130-141.

Mason, M.J. (2013) Of mice, moles and guinea-pigs: functional morphology of the middle ear in living mammals. Hearing Research 301: 4-18.

Lavender, D., Taraskin, S.N. & Mason, M.J. (2011) Mass distribution and rotational inertia of "microtype" and "freely mobile" middle ear ossicles in rodents. Hearing Research 282: 97-107.

Veselka, N., McErlain, D.D., Holdsworth, D.W., Eger, J.L., Chhem, R.K., Mason, M.J., Brain, K.L., Faure, P.A. & Fenton, M.B. (2010) A bony connection signals laryngeal echolocation in bats. Nature 463: 939-942.

Mason, M.J., Willi, U.B. & Narins, P.M. (2010) Comments on “Tympanic-membrane and malleus-incus-complex co-adaptations for high-frequency hearing in mammals”, by Sunil Puria & Charles Steele. Hearing Research 267: 1-3.

Mason, M.J., Lai, F.W.S., Li, J.-G. & Nevo, E. (2010) Middle ear structure and bone conduction in Spalax, Eospalax and Tachyoryctes mole-rats (Rodentia: Spalacidae). Journal of Morphology 271: 462-472.

Mason, M.J. & Narins, P.M. (2010) Seismic sensitivity and communication in subterranean mammals. In: The Use of Vibrations in Communication: Properties, Mechanisms and Function across Taxa, pp.121-139. O'Connell-Rodwell, C.E. (ed). Kerala: Transworld Research Network.

Argyle, E.C. & Mason, M.J. (2008) Middle ear structures of Octodon degus (Rodentia: Octodontidae), in comparison with those of subterranean caviomorphs. Journal of Mammalogy 89: 1447-1455.

Jones, S.E.M., Mason, M.J., Sunkaraneni, V.S. & Baguley, D.M. (2008) The effect of auditory stimulation on the tensor tympani in patients following stapedectomy. Acta Oto-Laryngologica 128: 250-254.

Farr, M.R.B. & Mason, M.J. (2008) Middle ear morphology in dormice (Rodentia: Gliridae). Mammalian Biology 73: 330-334.

Mason, M.J. (2007) Massive mallei in moles: middle ear adaptations subserving seismic sensitivity. Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics 29: 69-76.

Mason, M.J., Lucas, S.J., Wise, E.R., Stein, R.S. & Duer, M.J. (2006) Ossicular density in golden moles (Chrysochloridae). Journal of Comparative Physiology A 192: 1349-1357.

Mason, M.J. (2006) Evolution of the middle ear apparatus in talpid moles. Journal of Morphology 267: 678-695.

Lewis, E.R., Narins, P.M., Jarvis, J.U.M., Bronner, G. & Mason, M.J. (2006) Preliminary evidence for the use of microseismic cues for navigation by the Namib golden mole. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 119: 1260-1268.

Mason, M.J. (2004a) Functional morphology of the middle ear in Chlorotalpa golden moles (Mammalia, Chrysochloridae): predictions from three models. Journal of Morphology 261: 162-174.

Mason, M.J. (2004b) The middle ear apparatus of the tuco-tuco Ctenomys sociabilis (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae). Journal of Mammalogy 85: 797-805.

Mason, M.J. (2003a) Morphology of the middle ear of golden moles (Chrysochloridae). Journal of Zoology 260: 391-403.

Mason, M.J. (2003b) Bone conduction and seismic sensitivity in golden moles (Chrysochloridae). Journal of Zoology 260: 405-413.

Mason, M.J. & Narins, P.M. (2002) Seismic sensitivity in the desert golden mole (Eremitalpa granti): a review. Journal of Comparative Psychology 116: 158-163.

Mason, M.J. & Narins, P.M. (2001) Seismic signal use by fossorial mammals. American Zoologist 41: 1171-1184.

Mason, M.J. (2001) Middle ear structures in fossorial mammals: a comparison with non-fossorial species. Journal of Zoology 255: 467-486.

Mason, M.J. (1999) The Functional Anatomy of the Middle Ear of Mammals, with an Emphasis on Fossorial Forms. PhD Thesis, University of Cambridge, U.K.


Research on other vertebrates

Peacock, J., Spellman, G.M., Field, D.J., Mason, M.J. & Mayr, G. (2023) Comparative morphology of the avian bony columella. The Anatomical Record 1–29. https://

Nimpf, S., Nordmann, G.C., Kagerbauer, D., Malkemper, E.P., Landler, L., Papadaki-Anastasopoulou, A., Ushakova, L., Wenninger-Weinzierl, A., Novatchkova, M., Vincent, P., Lendl, T., Colombini, M., Mason, M.J., Keays, D.A. (2019) A putative mechanism for magnetoreception by electromagnetic induction in the pigeon inner ear. Current Biology 29: 4052-4059.

Goutte, S., Mason, M.J., Antoniazzi, M.M., Jared, C., Merle, D., Cazes, L., Toledo, L.F., el-Hafci, H., Pallu, S., Portier, H., Schramm, S., Gueriau, P. & Thoury, M. (2019) Intense bone fluorescence reveals hidden patterns in pumpkin toadlets. Scientific Reports 9 (5388): 1-8.

Malkemper, E.P., Mason, M.J., Kagerbauer, D., Nimpf, S. & Keays, D.A. (2018) Ectopic otoconial formation in the lagena of the pigeon inner ear. Biology Open 2018 7: bio034462.

Goutte, S., Mason, M.J., Christensen-Dalsgaard, J., Montealegre-Z, F., Chivers, B.D., Sarria-S, F.A., Antoniazzi, M.M., Jared, C., Almeida Sato, L. & Toledo, L.F. (2017) Evidence of auditory insensitivity to vocalization frequencies in two frogs. Scientific Reports 7 (12121): 1-9.

Mason, M.J., Segenhout, J.M., Cobo-Cuan, A., Quiñones, P.M. & van Dijk, P. (2015) The frog inner ear: picture perfect? Journal of the Association for Research in Otolaryngology 16: 171-188.

Mason, M.J. & Farr, M.R.B. (2013) Flexibility within the middle ears of vertebrates. Journal of Laryngology & Otology 127: 2-14.

Van Dijk, P., Mason, M.J., Schoffelen, R.L.M., Narins, P.M. & Meenderink, S.W.F. (2011) Mechanics of the frog ear. Hearing Research 273: 46-58.

Mason, M.J., Wang, M. & Narins, P.M. (2009) Structure and function of the middle ear apparatus of the aquatic frog, Xenopus laevis. Proceedings of the Institute of Acoustics 31: 13-21.

Mason, M.J. (2007) Pathways for sound transmission to the inner ear in amphibians. In: Hearing and Sound Communication in Amphibians, pp.147-183. Springer Handbook of Auditory Research: Narins, P.M., Feng, A.S., Fay, R.R. & Popper, A.N. (eds). New York: Springer.

Mason, M.J., Lin, C.C. & Narins, P.M. (2003) Sex differences in the middle ear of the bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana). Brain, Behavior & Evolution 61: 91-101.

Van Dijk, P., Narins, P.M. & Mason, M.J. (2003) Physiological vulnerability of distortion product otoacoustic emissions from the amphibian ear. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 114: 2044-2048.

Van Dijk, P., Mason, M.J. & Narins, P.M. (2002) Distortion product otoacoustic emissions in frogs: correlation with middle and inner ear properties. Hearing Research 173: 100-108.

Mason, M.J. & Narins, P.M. (2002a) Vibrometric studies of the middle ear of the bullfrog Rana catesbeiana I. The extrastapes. Journal of Experimental Biology 205: 3153-3165.

Mason, M.J. & Narins, P.M. (2002b) Vibrometric studies of the middle ear of the bullfrog Rana catesbeiana II. The operculum. Journal of Experimental Biology 205: 3167-3176.



Other work (educational, popular, other topics)

Mason, M.J. (2022) Marvellous middle ears: structure and function in some unusual mammals. Physiology News 126: 16-19.

Mason, M.J. & Gayton, A.M. (2022) Active learning in flipped classroom and tutorials: complementary or redundant? International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 16: 1-11.

Mason, M.J. (2021) Naked mole-rats: bizarre rodents speak in dialects unique to their colony. The Conversation (online).

Mason, M.J. & Gayton, A.M. (2019) Flipping physiology: can we teach physiology in a different way? Physiology News 116: 31-33.

Hubbard, K.E., Brown, R., Deans, S., García, M.P., Pruna, M.-G. & Mason, M.J. (2017) Undergraduate students as co-producers in the creation of first-year practical class resources. Higher Education Pedagogies 2: 58-78.

Reid, D.G., Mason, M.J., Chan, B.K.K. & Duer, M.J. (2012) Characterization of the phosphatic mineral of the barnacle Ibla cumingi at atomic level by solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance: comparison with other phosphatic biominerals. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 9: 1510-1516.

Neary, M.T., Reid, D.G., Mason, M.J., Friščić, T., Duer, M.J. & Cusack, M. (2011) Contrasts between organic participation in apatite biomineralization in brachiopod shell and vertebrate bone identified by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 8: 282-288.

Schwiening, C.J., Mason, M.J. & Thompson, M. (2011) Absolute power, not sex, promotes perspiration. Experimental Physiology 96: 556-558.

Reid, D.G., Neary, M.T., Mason, M.J., Friščić, T., Duer, M.J. & Cusack, M. (2010) Calcium phosphate mineralization in phosphatic brachiopods, and vertebrates. European Cells and Materials 19, suppl. 1: 10.

Phillips, J.S., Mason, M.J. & Dixon, H. (2010) Middle ear instrument nomenclature: a taxonomic approach. British Medical Journal 341: 1306-1308.