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J Acoust Soc Am. 2005 Sep;118(3 Pt 1):1585-92.

Two modes of motion of the alligator lizard cochlea: measurements and model predictions.

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Speech and Hearing Biosciences and Technology Program, Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology and Research Laboratory of Electronics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


Measurements of motion of an in vitro preparation of the alligator lizard basilar papilla in response to sound demonstrate elliptical trajectories. These trajectories are consistent with the presence of both a translational and rotational mode of motion. The translational mode is independent of frequency, and the rotational mode has a displacement peak near 5 kHz. These measurements can be explained by a simple mechanical system in which the basilar papilla is supported asymmetrically on the basilar membrane. In a quantitative model, the translational admittance is compliant while the rotational admittance is second order. Best-fit model parameters are consistent with estimates based on anatomy and predict that fluid flow across hair bundles is a primary source of viscous damping. The model predicts that the rotational mode contributes to the high-frequency slopes of auditory nerve fiber tuning curves, providing a physical explanation for a low-pass filter required in models of this cochlea. The combination of modes makes the sensitivity of hair bundles more uniform with radial position than that which would result from pure rotation. A mechanical analogy with the organ of Corti suggests that these two modes of motion may also be present in the mammalian cochlea.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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