Thursday, 9 March 2017

Newborn harbour porpoises have the fastest hearing development among mammals

Date: March 2, 2017
Source: University of Southern Denmark

All mammals can hear -- but it is not an ability that is fully developed at birth. Some mammals like humans take years to fully develop their hearing abilities, but for a newborn harbor porpoise it takes less than 30 hours. This is the fastest in any studied mammal.

It takes less than 30 hours for a newborn harbor porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) to develop full hearing abilities. This is faster than any other mammals studied.

Hearing is the most important of the senses for a porpoise, both for adults and calves, so it is logical that a newborn calf spends energy on fine tuning and optimizing this sense as fast as possible, says biologist Magnus Wahlberg, University of Southern Denmark.

Together with colleagues Lara Delgado-García from SDU and Jakob Højer Kristensen from the research and experience center Fjord&Bælt in Kerteminde, Denmark, he has published a study in Journal of Comparative Physiology A.

Rabbits need months to develop full hearing
Mammals are not born with fully developed hearing. It may take weeks, months or years, and land living mammals need the most time. Guinea pigs need weeks. Cats, rabbits, minks, bats and rats need months. And humans may need years.

A newborn porpoise calf needs a good hearing, so that it can maintain contact with its mother and develop echolocation skills, says Jakob Højer Kristensen.

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