Research Project:

 

Auditory scene analysis in crocodilians

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As top predators, crocodilians are very well equipped to probe their environment: excellent vision, highly developed smell, extraordinary abilities of mechano-reception, and an acute sense of hearing. These sensory abilities are also extremely useful in their social life: individuals interact visually, chemically and acoustically. By investigating crocodilian life in captivity and in the wild, we have experimentally showed that mother-offspring as well as between-sibling interactions rely mostly on acoustics. Strikingly, we found that mothers discriminate between juveniles of different sizes on the basis of their calls, targeting newborns in their responses. The present project investigates how crocodilians localize and identify a sound source in their environment. We test the “amphibious adaptation” hypothesis, which predicts that crocodilians have developed specific abilities to localize a sound source at the interface between air and water.

Collaborators:

Nicolas Grimault, CRNL

Zilca Campos, Embrapa, Brazil

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