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How mammals grow ears: With a flaw

Newly discovered rupture-and-repair process could explain a lot about infections and hearing defects

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3:43pm, March 22, 2013

Hey evolution, thanks for nothing. When a mammal embryo develops, its middle ear appears to form in a pop-and-patch way that seals one end with substandard, infection-prone tissue.

“The way evolution works doesn’t always create the most perfect, engineered structure,” says Abigail Tucker, a developmental biologist at King’s College London. “Definitely, it’s made an ear that’s slightly imperfect.”

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