Do you pity the whales when you sit by the sea, listening to all the zoomy boats going by? I do. The Sydney Morning Herald explains:
Scientists have long known that man-made, underwater noises – from engines, sonars, weapons testing and such industrial tools as air guns used in oil and gas exploration – are deafening whales and other sea mammals.
The US Navy estimates that loud booms from just its underwater listening devices, mainly sonar, result in temporary or permanent hearing loss for more than 250,000 sea creatures every year, a number that is rising.
Another reason to favour sailboats and kayaks over motorboats. But anyway, the good news:
Now scientists have discovered that whales can decrease the sensitivity of their hearing to protect their ears from loud noise. Humans tend to do this with index fingers; scientists haven’t pinpointed how whales do it but they have seen the first evidence of the behaviour. [continue]
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