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Meeting Abstract

73-5   11:00 - 11:15  3D Finite Element Models for Sound Transmission in Amphibian Middle Ears Fleming, RC*; Hoke, KL; Brown University; Colorado State University

The ancestors of modern amphibians were the first vertebrates to evolve a middle ear for land-based hearing. Today’s amphibians retain a simple and effective middle ear structure similar to those of their ancestors, and the fundamental mechanisms of these ears may reflect those that served as foundations of hearing in terrestrial vertebrates. Understanding amphibian hearing mechanisms can therefore offer insights to the evolution of more sophisticated hearing we observe in land-dwelling vertebrates today. Although the anatomy of the amphibian middle ear has been thoroughly described, it is not known to what extent various anatomical properties, such as material properties or shape and size of ear structures, influence middle ear movement and sound transduction. To address this, I created 3D finite element models of the middle ears of Rhinella marina and Arthroleptis tanneri, two anuran species with different ear geometry. To create these models, I segmented middle ear parts from the scan, processed them into volumetric FE models, and constructed finite element simulations. I subjected both models to harmonic response simulations at a range of frequencies and measured the sensitivity of the models to changes in various parameters to determine their effects on sound transfer. This study presents a hypothesis-generating tool for ear mechanics research and provides a better understanding of the biomechanics of how variation in the middle ear affects sound transmission.