currentsinbiology: Whales and dolphins can nat…


Whales and dolphins can naturally muffle loud sounds, potentially protecting them from sonar and other dangers

Instead of wearing earplugs at a rock concert, imagine you could simply tune a dial inside your ears to lower the volume—and protect your hearing. Four species of whales and dolphins can do this naturally, new research reveals. This could potentially allow the animals to shield themselves from the cacophony of Navy sonar and oil drilling, which has been linked to at least 500 marine mammal deaths since 1963.

“The finding … is groundbreaking and will open up numerous lines of research in this field,” says zoologist Maria Morell of the Institute for Neurosciences of Montpellier in France, who was not involved with the study.