News & Events
December 15, 2014
Zebrafish and the inner ear – more similar than you think

In his blog, Professor Jan Schnupp tells us about how researchers are using fish to find out more about the mysterious workings of the inner ear

You might be surprised to learn that hearing researchers – real-world scientists, not those in fantasy fiction – are becoming increasingly interested in fish. Not so much the mythical Babel fish, but the pretty little zebrafish that you can buy in any aquarium-supply shop. And this growing interest in fish becomes a lot less surprising when you learn more about the origins of the structures of your own inner ears, since it is now widely accepted among evolutionary biologists that the fluid-filled chambers of your inner ear, whose job it is to detect sound and balance signals, have evolved from a peculiar sensory system found in most fish: the “lateral line organ”.