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Hearing in Prairie Animals (page 2)

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Author: Janice VanCleave

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When you used the paper cup, you were able to hear the ticking of the watch at a greater distance.

Why?

The sound of the ticking watch spreads out from the watch much like water waves spread over the surface of water in which a pebble has been dropped. Your external ear (part of the ear on the outside of your head) collects some of this sound. The cup extending from your ear increases the amount of sound that is collected, so the ticking can be heard when the watch is held at a greater distance. Larger external ears on animals help them hear predators approaching from a distance and gives them more time to escape.

More Fun With Hearing!

Wolves, deer, fox, and other animals are also able to move their ears. This allows them to locate the source of a sound by moving only their ears while keeping their bodies still, so they are less likely to attract attention. See how animals turning their ears helps locate sounds. First stand or sit in the center of a room and ask four or more helpers to stand about 3 feet (0.9 m) from you. You want to have a helper on each side, front, back, left, and right. Put on a blindfold and ask your helpers to take turns clapping their hands. Without turning your head when one of the helpers claps his or her hands, point toward the helper that you think is making the sound. Your helpers can count the number of times that you correctly pointed to the person making the sounds. Repeat the activity, turning your head to locate the sound.

Prairie Animals

Book List

  • Moore, Peter D. The Encyclopedia of Animal Ecology. New York: Facts on File, 1989. Information about animals, including those in grasslands.
  • VanCleave, Janice. Animals. New York: Wiley, 1993. Experiments about animals, including adaptive behavior. Each chapter contains ideas that can be turned into awardwinning science fair projects.
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