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Discovery Magazine 5/1/2014

Can a Lizard Hear?

by  Digger Doug

Dear Elijah,

That is a good question. I think I can guess why you asked it. When you look at a lizard, you don’t see ears that stick out of its head like you see on a dog, rat, or pig. That makes us wonder if they can hear. But think about this: do you see ears on birds? But we know they must be able to hear because of all the wonderful songs that God designed them to sing to each other. The truth is, many lizards can hear very well. They have ears, but not like ours. Inside of our ear there is an eardrum, or tympanic membrane, that detects vibrations. But did you know that many lizards have their eardrums on the outside of their heads, or in a shallow area just slightly below the surface of their heads? This tympanic membrane allows them to detect vibrations and sounds much like ours does. Since there are so many different kinds of lizards, from crocodiles to Gila monsters, some of them hear better than others. But, in general, God designed lizards to be able to hear, even without external (or outside) ears like humans and hamsters have.

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