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Evolution of the auditory system

Hello everybody,

I'm doing a little (!) bit of informal research for a paper on the
evolution of the auditory system. Comparative studies into the auditory
physiologies of different animals have been useful in thinking about our
own auditory system, and indeed many animals auditory systems are
interesting in their own right (dolphins', bats', blind moles', etc). From
these studies it is often helpful to consider the demands of the
environments each animal has adapted towards for efficient survival. The
process of adaptation can often reveal some insight into the functionality
of certain parts of the auditory system.

I was intrigued when I started to think about the evolution of the auditory
system within different species. There is no doubt that many auditory
systems are highly developed, intricate and very specialised systems, but I
can't seem to find any work on how they may have evolved to become so? Does
the fact that many auditory systems are delicate in their physiology mean
that there is no fossil record, and hence no phylogenic 'story' of auditory

I would be grateful for any references, ideas, anecdotes, correspondence,
research proposals (and grants!!), etc, from anyone with a similar
interest. Does anyone know a palaeontologist who would be interested in

Many thanks,

        *       Kevin L. Baker                                  *
        *       Dept. of Psychology, University of Sheffield    *
        *       PO Box 603, Sheffield, S10 2UR,  UK             *
        *       Tel: +44 742 826541     Fax: +44 742 766515     *
        *                                                       *
        *       email: pc1kb@sunc.sheffield.ac.uk               *