If you listen to our show (click on the link above!), your ears are doing the work.

Unless you’re a certain type of roundworm that can react to sound without any ear-like organs.


That’s the finding of a team at the University of Michigan’s Life Sciences Institute.

These are the tiny worms known as Caenorhabditis elegans, about a millimeter long.

Scientists were able to show they had senses of touch, smell and taste, but that was it.

It’s not unusual for some kinds of creatures to go without some of the other senses.

But the researchers had discovered these roundworms had a sense of sight even though they don’t have eyes.

They wanted to test whether they might also react to sound despite having no ears.

They tested a range of sound frequencies, and sure enough, the little creatures moved away from the source of the sound.

That means they could sense the sound and where it was coming from, which may be a way they try to avoid predators.

How do they hear without ears?

They sense the sounds through neurons in their skin.

Those neurons appear to cause vibrations in the fluid inside the worm’s body, which is pretty much how our cochlea work.

And they say if this one type of worm can sense sound, other earless creatures may be able to sense sound as well.

So don’t say anything around them you wouldn’t want repeated.

On the other hand, worms that respond to sound could hear our show. This could be a whole new demographic for us!

The International Astronomical Union, prompted by UCLA doctoral student Jordan Bretzfelder, has announced that a crater on the moon is now known as Henson Crater.

It’s named for the great black explorer Matthew Henson, one of the first people to stand at the North Pole.

Henson Crater is near the moon’s south pole, but it’s not good to be typecast around just one kind of pole, right?

Earless worms ‘listen’ through their skin (Science Daily)

Thanks to UCLA graduate student, a lunar honor for explorer Matthew Henson (UCLA)

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Photo by Antje Thomas, Schulenburg Lab, Kiel via Wikicommons/Creative Commons