Nature Communications recently published a paper by the Oghalai Lab, which gives a new understanding to the mechanisms of the inner ear hair cells of a live chicken.

chickenAs Dr. Oghalai explains to Tracie White in the post on Scope Blog:

“We already know that after deafening, birds can regenerate their hair cells whereas mammals cannot,” John Oghalai, MD, professor of otolaryngology, told me. “Now, our data argues that an evolutionary trade-off for humans that allowed higher frequency hearing resulted in a loss of some of the hair cell functionality.”

Dr. Oghalai’s lab, and other SICHL labs, are working hard to understand how the inner ear works, in hopes of preventing or curing hearing loss. Understanding how the inner ear of the chicken functions differently from that of a human, is an important step towards this understanding of the mechanism of human hearing.