Antlers act as hearing aids

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The Independent Online

A moose's antlers may act as large hearing aids, scientists believe. The large flat antlers of male moose could boost their hearing by almost a fifth, the researchers George and Peter Bubenik suggested.

They said the moose was already known to have excellent hearing, with ears 60 times the size of humans. Their calls can travel almost two miles, allowing the deer to communicate over long distances. But antlered bulls can locate the position of moose cows much more accurately than males without antlers or other females, suggesting the antlers play a part in hearing.

The pair's study involved trophy antlers set up around an artificial ear – created by a television special effects team – with a microphone and sound-level meter inside to measure how much of a monotone noise from a speaker 10 metres away was picked up.

Writing in the European Journal of Wildlife, the Canadian father and son team said: These findings strongly indicate that the palm of moose antlers may serve as an effective parabolic reflector."