Auditory peripheral tuning: evidence for a simple resonance phenomenon in the lizard Tiliqua

Hear Res. 1988 May;33(2):181-9. doi: 10.1016/0378-5955(88)90031-7.


The origin of the frequency selectivity of neurons in the vertebrate auditory periphery is one of the most important questions in auditory research today. In an attempt to delineate the extent to which structures outside the sensory cells play a role in determining peripheral auditory responses, we measured the mechanical displacement of the basilar membrane and the selectivity of nerve fibres at the same location in the bobtail lizard. These data indicate a contribution to frequency selectivity, the tuning of which resembles a high-pass resonant filter characteristic, arising subsequent to the basilar membrane motion. A comparison of these data with the tuning of auditory-nerve fibres originating from papillar areas in other lizard species without a tectorial membrane, suggests that it is the involvement of the tectorial membrane in a mechanical resonance which increases the frequency selectivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology*
  • Basilar Membrane / physiology*
  • Cochlea / physiology*
  • Ear, Inner / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hair Cells, Auditory / physiology
  • Lizards
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology*
  • Tectorial Membrane / physiology*
  • Vestibulocochlear Nerve / physiology