Convergent Evolution of Hearing

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Science  16 Nov 2012:
Vol. 338, Issue 6109, pp. 894-895
DOI: 10.1126/science.1231169

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How do human ears work? The textbook explanation starts by dividing the ear into three separate anatomical entities that have equally separate functions in converting airborne sound (pressure waves outside the ear) into fluid-borne traveling waves inside the ear, a conversion that makes long-distance hearing on dry land possible (1, 2). On page 968 of this issue, Montealegre-Z. et al. (3) show that although the hearing organ of a rainforest insect looks very different from a human ear, it can be divided into the same three functional entities, providing evidence for convergent evolution.