Echo Location in the seas
So we have come to know that bats are not the only animals who find food by Echo Location.
Many kinds of fish and mammals who live in the seas use it.
First of all
Why in the seas?
In deep waters, there is not enough sunlight to find food with the help of eyes. Also sound travels five times faster in water than in air. So, their calls can travel to long distances and they can get the echo sound very quickly.
The living beings who use this underwater are Toothed Whales , Killer Whales , Sperm Whales , Dolphins and Porpoises .
Toothed Whales and Dolphins produce clicks in a long series called a “click train”, for echolocation. They can have more than 600 clicks in a second!
We learnt that bats have special noses to focus the sound waves like a lens focuses the sunlight. All these above mentioned animals have an organ called “melon” in front of their noses which does the same work. It sense the echoes through its lower jaw, which has a tissue that transmits sound to the ear. You can see this is the diagram which shows how whales and dolphins produce and receive sounds.
A kind of dolphin called Bottle Nosed Dolphins are experts in echo – location. Using it they can sense difference of size between very similar objects from quite afar. They can do this in a noisy environment. They can even whistle while they echo locate. They can echo locate on near and far away objects at once. Remember how the bat always has to make a choice!
Different number of clicks that a Bottle Nosed Dolphin makes in a train, make it sound like a bark or a squeal or a growl!
There are even other animals that use echo – location, like, oilbirds, swiftlets, shrews, tenrecs.
Don’t these animals use sounds the way we do : To say something to each other ?!!
A kind of whales called Baleen Whales sing to communicate. Many people think that bats also use echo location not just to catch prey but also to communicate among themselves, like the way we do with the help of words. Human babies often babble which exercises their vocal tracts and prepares them to produce sounds which we recognize as words. You will be surprised to know that bat babies, pups have also been known to babble. Whether for the same reasons as our babies, we don’t know .
We will finally end this discussion by telling what lies in store for you on this website in the coming few days.
This article and the next ones will bring us closer to many unique things about how animals sense, behave and co operate with each other. We will find out how intelligent they are. We discover meaning behind their actions.
So let us find out what is coming next :