The goldfish ear codes the axis of acoustic particle motion in three dimensions

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Science  31 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4665, pp. 951-954
DOI: 10.1126/science.6474161


Auditory and vestibular nerve fibers of the goldfish are strongly directionally sensitive to whole-body acceleration at audio frequencies. The three-dimensional pattern of sensitivity shows that input from a receptor ensemble (hair cells) is essentially equivalent to that expected from a single hair cell having a given three-dimensional orientation of best sensitivity. Fibers from the sacculus, lagena, and utriculus differ with respect to distributions of directional orientation, but are similar in best threshold (less than 1 nanometer, root mean square, at 140 hertz). In combination with other mechanisms for detection of sound pressure, this directionality is a likely basis for directional hearing in fishes, and it could allow the determination of underwater acoustic intensity.

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