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Animal Ears

In this worksheet, students will answer questions about why animals have different ears and ways of detecting sounds.

'Animal Ears' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:   Evolution and Inheritance

Curriculum subtopic:   Adaptation

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Animals use their senses to gather information about the world around them.  Animals have evolved different ways of detecting (hearing) sounds.

 

Some predators have very good hearing so that they can find their prey:

 

Barn owl

Barn Owl

 

Some prey animals have good hearing to hear the predator coming:

 

Hare

Hare

 

Other animals detect vibrations in other ways - through their legs:

 

Grasshopper

Grasshopper

 

All these are ADAPTATIONS of each animal to suit its environment and its mode of living (hunter, herbivore, communicator, etc.).  Use this worksheet to help yourself understand how animals' ears have been adapted to suit their particular lifestyle.

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Animals without flappy, outer ears cannot hear sounds.

true

false

Which TWO of these are functions of the outer ears?

to collect sound

to flap in the breeze

to funnel sound into the inner ear

to protect the head

Finish this sentence:

 

Cats have very sensitive ears so that they can......

hear at night-time

hear the can opener

hear their prey

Finish this sentence:

 

Rabbits and hares have long ears because they...

can see each other above the tall grass

live in fields

are prey animals

Finish this sentence:

 

Elephants have large ears so that they can...

hear predators coming

lose heat when it's hot

shelter baby elephants from the sun

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Birds don't have ears, so they can't hear.

true

false

Barn owl

 

Finish this sentence:

 

The barn owl's head is this shape in order to...

make it look more beautiful

collect sound

make it fly faster

Grasshopper

 

Some insects, like this grasshopper, MAKE and DETECT sound using their...

jaws

legs

antennae

Long-eared Bat

 

Finish this sentence:

 

Nocturnal bats have long ears because they...

have poor hearing

need to listen out for predators

use echo-location

Trout

 

This fish is a trout.  Many fish have a line of nerves along their sides.  What do you think these nerves detect?

light

heat

vibration

  • Question 1

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Animals without flappy, outer ears cannot hear sounds.

CORRECT ANSWER
false
EDDIE SAYS
Although many animals do not have outer ears which we can see, they can hear because they have inner ears. As humans we have visible ears (it's called your PINNA), but many animals either have no flappy ears, and just an eardrum (like frogs) or they may sense vibrations with a certain part of their body rather than hear sounds, as such (many fish 'hear' like this).
  • Question 2

Which TWO of these are functions of the outer ears?

CORRECT ANSWER
to collect sound
to funnel sound into the inner ear
EDDIE SAYS
In the inner ear, sounds are turned into nerve signals which travel to the brain. The flappy, outer ears collect and funnel sound into the inner ear. MInd you, elephants use the flappy part of their ears to fan cool breezes over them as well!
  • Question 3

Finish this sentence:

 

Cats have very sensitive ears so that they can......

CORRECT ANSWER
hear their prey
EDDIE SAYS
Cats' ears are tuned (adapted) to very small sounds and to very high-pitched noises (like the rustle of a mouse moving through the grass, or the squeak of a field vole). Of course, their ears are equally sensitive, day or night.
  • Question 4

Finish this sentence:

 

Rabbits and hares have long ears because they...

CORRECT ANSWER
are prey animals
EDDIE SAYS
Their large ears are adapted to collect a wide range of sounds over a long distance. Since they are prey animals, they need to be especially sensitive to the quiet movement of a predator's approach. Equally, they must be able to hear the warning sound given when one of them senses danger.
  • Question 5

Finish this sentence:

 

Elephants have large ears so that they can...

CORRECT ANSWER
lose heat when it's hot
EDDIE SAYS
Elephants are so large that, as adults, they have no natural predators (apart from one pride of lions in Botswana who have adapted themselves as specialist elephant hunters). The veins in their large ears (big surface area) allow them to lose body heat and stop them getting over-heated! It also helps when they flap them, waving warm air away and pulling in cooler air.
  • Question 6

Is the following statement true or false?

 

Birds don't have ears, so they can't hear.

CORRECT ANSWER
false
EDDIE SAYS
Birds can hear even though most birds don't have outer ears or tufts of feathers. Birds collect sounds in holes near to their eyes - they have inner ears.
  • Question 7

Barn owl

 

Finish this sentence:

 

The barn owl's head is this shape in order to...

CORRECT ANSWER
collect sound
EDDIE SAYS
Yes, I know, owls are very beautiful! But the shape of the feathers does the job of an outer ear, collecting and funnelling sound into the inner ear. That might seem strange, but the design of an owl's face feathers is a direct adaptation to help direct sounds to their ears. Barn owls are almost silent in flight - their feathers are adapted to fly in stealth mode - great when listening for the squeak of a vole!
  • Question 8

Grasshopper

 

Some insects, like this grasshopper, MAKE and DETECT sound using their...

CORRECT ANSWER
legs
EDDIE SAYS
Some insects, such as crickets and grasshoppers, make sounds with their legs. It has a special name - STRIDULATION - and what they do is to rub the spines on their legs very quickly against the edges of their wings. This makes the familiar "tse-tse-tse" sound of grasshoppers and crickets.
  • Question 9

Long-eared Bat

 

Finish this sentence:

 

Nocturnal bats have long ears because they...

CORRECT ANSWER
use echo-location
EDDIE SAYS
Bats hunt insects in the dark using high frequency sounds. They need large ears to collect the sounds which bounce back from their prey. They do need to listen out for predators, but the main function of their large ears is the echo-location. It was this amazing adaptation of bats that led to the development of radar - being able to "see" in the dark using sound.
  • Question 10

Trout

 

This fish is a trout.  Many fish have a line of nerves along their sides.  What do you think these nerves detect?

CORRECT ANSWER
vibration
EDDIE SAYS
Fish detect vibrations in the water using this line of nerves; it's a fish's way of 'hearing'. As a wave of vibrating water particles hits the fish, the LATERAL LINE down its sides detects those vibrations and sends information to its brain, along nerves. The brain then decodes that information to help it decide what to do (like "swim fast, NOW"!).
---- OR ----

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