Investigation on acoustic reception pathways in finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaorientalis sunameri) with insight into an alternative pathway

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Song, Zhongchang
Zhang, Yu
Mooney, T. Aran
Wang, Xianyan
Smith, Adam B.
Xu, Xiaohui
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Finless porpoise
Reception pathway
Acoustic propagation
Finite element method
Sound transmission and reception are both vital components to odontocete echolocation and daily life. Here, we combine computed tomography (CT) scanning and Finite Element Modeling to investigate the acoustic propagation of finless porpoise (Neophocaena asiaorientalis sunameri) echolocation pulses. The CT scanning and FEM wave propagation model results support the well-accepted jaw-hearing pathway hypothesis and suggest an additional alternative auditory pathway composed of structures, mandible (lower jaw) and internal mandibular fat, with different acoustic impedances, which may also conduct sounds to the ear complexes. The internal mandibular fat is attached to the ear complex and encased by the mandibles laterally and anteriorly. The simulations show signals in this pathway initially propagate along the solid mandibles and are transmitted to the acoustically coupled soft tissue of the internal mandibular fat which conducts the stimuli posteriorly as it eventually arrives at ear complexes. While supporting traditional theories, this new bone-tissue-conduction pathway might be meaningful to understand the hearing and sound reception processes in a wide variety of odontocetes species.
Author Posting. © The Author(s), 2018. This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here under a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license granted to WHOI. It is made available for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Bioinspiration & Biomimetics 14 (2019): 016004, doi:10.1088/1748-3190/aaeb01.
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