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Hearing could be herring's red herring.

Hearing could be herring's red herring

Three years ago, Kenneth Norris and Bertel Mohl suggested that toothed whales -- a suborder that includes bottle-nosed dolphins and killer whales -- might use bursts of intense sonar to stun elusive prey, making food gathering a cinch. Recently, Norris and Kenneth Marten, both of the Long Marine Laboratory at the University of California at Santa Cruz, reported findings that strengthen this hypothesis, which they named the "big bang theory," after the sonar bursts.

In the July 1983 AMERICAN NATURALIST, Norris and Mohl, who is at Aarhus (Denmark) University, assembled theoretical, observational and anecdotal evidence to earn their hypothesis a hearing. Last month, Marten reported what he believes is a remarkable correlation between the frequency of sounds recorded during killer whales' hunting sessions and the range of aural sensitivity of herring, a favorite entree. The whales seem to emit sounds in the 400-hertz frequency range, exactly the range in which herring hearing works best. Because the fish probably rely on hearing for navigation in the cloudy and dim depths, Marten speculates that the whales might use intense sound to overload their aural systems, making sitting ducks out of the fish. please delete
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Title Annotation:whales may use sonar to stun prey
Publication:Science News
Date:Oct 11, 1986
Words:196
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