In this paper, we compare some of the neural strategies for sound localization and encoding interaural time differences (ITDs) in three predatory species of Reptilia, alligators, barn owls and geckos. Birds and crocodilians are sister groups among the extant archosaurs, while geckos are lepidosaurs. Despite the similar organization of their auditory systems, archosaurs and lizards use different strategies for encoding the ITDs that underlie localization of sound in azimuth. Barn owls encode ITD information using a place map, which is composed of neurons serving as labeled lines tuned for preferred spatial locations, while geckos may use a meter strategy or population code composed of broadly sensitive neurons that represent ITD via changes in the firing rate.
© 2015 S. Karger AG, Basel.