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J Acoust Soc Am. 2001 Dec;110(6):3305-18.

Three-dimensional modeling of hearing in Delphinus delphis.

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JRJ Simulation & Design, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA.


Physical modeling is a fertile approach to investigating sound emission and reception (hearing) in marine mammals. A method for simulation of hearing was developed combining three-dimensional acoustic propagation and extrapolation techniques with a novel approach to modeling the acoustic parameters of mammalian tissues. Models of the forehead and lower jaw tissues of the common dolphin, Delphinus delphis, were created in order to simulate the biosonar emission and hearing processes. This paper outlines the methods used in the hearing simulations and offers observations concerning the mechanisms of acoustic reception in this dolphin based on model results. These results include: (1) The left and right mandibular fat bodies were found to channel sound incident from forward directions to the left and right tympanic bulla and to create sharp maxima against the lateral surfaces of each respective bulla; (2) The soft tissues of the lower jaw improved the forward directivity of the simulated receptivity patterns; (3) A focal property of the lower-jaw pan bones appeared to contribute to the creation of distinct forward receptivity peaks for each ear; (4) The reception patterns contained features that may correspond to lateral hearing pathways. A "fast" lens mechanism is proposed to explain the focal contribution of the pan bones in this dolphin. Similar techniques may be used to study hearing in other marine mammals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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