Written by: on May 18, 2020 @ 6:00 am

What is echolocation? Echolocation uses sound waves and echoes to determine the placement of objects, making it possible to maneuver and find food in complete darkness! For nocturnal animals or animals with subpar sight, echolocation is a radar to help them navigate through the world. Bats, dolphins, toothed whales, and a few types of birds have adapted to utilize sound to guide themselves through the world.

Most popular of the echolocating animals are bats! Bats are nocturnal, meaning that they are only active during night, so its necessary for bats to navigate in darkness. Bats produce a series of clicking sounds from their mouth or nose and this soundwave travels until it hits another object. Once the sound wave hits an object, like a yummy moth or mosquito, and echo bounces and returns to the bat’s capable ears. The bats have such an amazing sense of sound that they can determine where the object is, how large it is, and the objects shape!

Dolphins are another animal that use echolocation to get around. Have you ever used goggles to see underwater? While you may be able to see a few yards away in a crystal-clear pool, ocean water is much murkier. Dolphins also have a hard time seeing in ocean water! Like bats in the dead of night, dolphins have adapted to use echolocation.  Sound waves produced by dolphins travel through water just as they travel through the air, and returning echoes are picked up by the lower jaw and foreheads. Dolphins have fatty tissue in their head and jaw that help to carry sound to their ears and brain.

Echolocation is so effective that humans have taught themselves how to echolocate! Much like a bat or dolphin, a person creates clicking noses with their tongue and await the soundwave’s return. The process of teaching a human to echolocate can be lengthy, but a large payoff for persons suffering from blindness! Try and echolocate around your room today!

Join our HTHT @ Home Science Experiment and test your skills in echolocation: https://sciencemadefun.net/downloads/EOTD_Echolocation_Lesson.pdf

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