Saturday, June 17, 2006

Origin of the Ear From Discover magazine, May 2006, p. 16: "Our earliest ancestors may have breathed through their ears." "The tubes that form the middle-ear canal in humans probably evolved from a pairof gill-like holes that allowed primeval sea creatures to breathe from the back of their heads."

The evidence: fossils dated at 370 million years ago of an intermediate species between fish and the first four-limbed animals to crawl onto land. This species "had small bones in its skull that appear to be early analogues of both ear canals and the gill system in some modern fish." When the creatures evolved to walk on land and breath air through the mouth, the canals were no longer needed for breathing, could develop into ears.

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