Cetaceans on a molecular fast track to ultrasonic hearing

Cetaceans on a molecular fast track to ultrasonic hearing


Yang Liu, Stephen J Rossiter, Xiuqun Han, James A Cotton, Shuyi Zhang

Current Biology (2010/10/26) 20(20):1834-1839

The early radiation of cetaceans coincides with the origin of their defining ecological and sensory differences [1, 2]. Toothed whales (Odontoceti) evolved echolocation for hunting 36-34 million years ago, whereas baleen whales (Mysticeti) evolved filter feeding and do not echolocate [2]. Echolocation in toothed whales demands exceptional high-frequency hearing [3], and both echolocation and ultrasonic hearing have also evolved independently in bats [4, 5]. The motor protein Prestin that drives the electromotility of the outer hair cells ( …


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