Simmons, James A. Walter S. Hunter Laboratory of Psychology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island.
- Echolocation sounds
- Auditory images
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The biological sonar that bats, porpoises, and certain other animals use to navigate without the visual system. Several different groups of animals have evolved the ability to perceive objects by emitting sounds and hearing the echoes that the objects reflect to their ears. The locations and characteristics of the objects are represented by acoustic properties of the echoes, and the ears and auditory systems of these animals act as the sonar receiver. The sense of hearing is specialized for converting echo information into displays of objects, which are perceived as acoustic images that guide the animal's behavior. The best-known examples of echolocating animals are bats (Microchiroptera) and porpoises and toothed whales (Cetacea). However, several other kinds of mammals (some flying foxes, shrews, and rats) and birds (oilbirds and cave swiftlets) also can echolocate. See also: Sonar
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