COOL IMAGES: Tour de l'Oreille

Science  16 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5473, pp. 1927a-1927
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5473.1927a

With its Rube Goldberg-like assembly of jostling bones, quivering membranes, spiraling channels, and tiny swaying hairs, perhaps no part of the body is as intriguingly designed as the machinery of hearing. A visually rich tour of the inner ear awaits at Promenade 'round the Cochlea, a site for medical and biology students created by cell imaging and cochlear expert Remy Pujol's group at the French biomedical research agency INSERM and the University of Montpellier in Montpellier, France. Along with cartoon cutaways of the spiral-shaped cochlea, animations, and a sound clip or two, the site features exquisite electron micrographs from Pujol's lab and otherssuch as these shots of stereocilia-tipped hair cells lining a rat cochlea. About 16,000 hair cells help convert sounds to nerve impulses in the human ear. The site's English version will soon be upgraded to match the French site. See related links for more Web tours of the ear.

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