A Frog That Hears With Its Mouth
Gardiner’s frog, native to the Seychelles islands off the coast of Africa, is tiny. Like smaller than your fingernail tiny. Because of its diminutive and dainty stature, it’s had to make some anatomical sacrifices, namely in its middle ear. Here’s what our middle ear looks like:
These frogs don’t have the ossicles, or tiny bones, that we use to amplify sound from the eardrun to the inner ear. They don’t even have an eardrum.
These frogs should be deaf. But they’re not.
French researchers have now used X-ray analysis to map out the interior of the frog’s skull seen above in GIF form. The researchers found that the frog’s mouth can resonate at a certain frequency. That frequency happens to be almost exactly the frequency of the frog’s high-pitched, chirping call.
That means these little guys could be using their mouths as an oral amplifier, making up for the ear anatomy they have lost. Pretty cool!