Which Animal has Asymmetrical Ears?

Which animal has asymmetrical ears? 

Asymmetrical means that two things, or two halves of the same thing, do not look the same – either the same size or the same shape. They look lopsided.

Many owls (but not all owls) have asymmetrical ears. The British Trust for Ornithology says that, in many owls, the left ear is positioned lower than the right ear. The two ears are also out of line on the vertical plane.

Tawny Owl

This means that the owls with asymmetrical ears are able to better pinpoint the location of sounds because sound waves reach the individual ear drums at slightly different times and angles. 

Often it is difficult to see the asymmetrical ears of the owls because they are small and hidden by feathers.

Some species of owls with asymmetrical ears include the Barn Owl (Tyto alba), Tawny Owl (Strix aluco), and Ural Owl (Strix uralensis). 

Tawny Owl
Barn Owl
Ural Owl

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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