Evolution of Sound Localization in Mammals

  • Rickye S. Heffner
  • Henry E. Heffner


The ability to locate the source of a sound too brief to be either scanned or tracked using head or pinna movements is of obvious advantage to an animal. Since most brief sounds are made by other animals, the ability to localize such sounds enables an animal to approach or avoid other animals in its immediate environment. Moreover, it can be used to direct the eyes, thus bringing another sense to bear upon the source of the sound. Given the value of sound localization to the survival of an animal, it is not surprising that the need to localize sound has been implicated as a primary source of selective pressure in the evolution of mammalian hearing (Masterton et al. 1969; Masterton 1974).


Sound Source Sound Localization Interaural Time Difference Tree Shrew Spiny Mouse 
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  • Rickye S. Heffner
  • Henry E. Heffner

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