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Rainforest katydids evolved mammal-like ears

Tiny organs below insect’s knees have a structure similar to those in humans

A rainforest katydid doesn’t talk like a mammal, or walk like a mammal, but it does hear with the first mammal-like, three-stage sound-sensing system known outside vertebrates.

“The beauty about the katydid ear is that it does the same job in a way that is much simpler,” says sensory biologist Daniel Robert of the University of Bristol in England. And of interest to researchers designing miniature hearing devices, the Copiphora gorgonensis katydid ear is smaller than a rice grain.

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