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Re: High-frequency hearing in humans


Isn't it parsimonious to assume that humans--and other creatures--have high frequency hearing for the simple reason that there is lots of useful information out there in the natural environment in the higher frequency range? Yes it's also useful for localization etc., but identifying a source would be at least as critical.

Many critters that we might want to eat, run away from, or merely be aware of make noises in that range with their vocal tracts, wings, legs etc (birds, crickets, etc); and others who are bigger still might at least make HF noise by stepping on leaves/branches etc and hence leave tell-tale cues in high frequencies. Plus lower frequencies might occasionally be masked by noise (water, wind...) so one would want to detect the presence of others even in a noisy environment.

So it would be adaptive to be able to hear them, would it not? That seems like the simplest explanation to me.



Robert J. Zatorre, Ph.D.
Montreal Neurological Institute
3801 University St.
Montreal, QC Canada H3A 2B4
phone: 1-514-398-8903
fax: 1-514-398-1338
e-mail: robert.zatorre@xxxxxxxxx
web site: www.zlab.mcgill.ca

On 25/01/2011 13:33, Tom Brennan wrote:
One item that comes to mind is echo location.  Research in this area is spotty
but those with experience using and/or teaching echo location skills have found
that high frequency hearing (12k and above) while not necessary do enhance the
skill particularly in adding detail to a heard knowledge of surroundings.


Tom Brennan  KD5VIJ, CCC-A/SLP
web page http://titan.sfasu.edu/~g_brennantg/sonicpage.html