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      Seismic communication in a blind subterranean mammal: a major somatosensory mechanism in adaptive evolution underground.

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

      Acoustic Stimulation, Adaptation, Physiological, Animals, Biological Evolution, Blindness, Communication, Evoked Potentials, Rodentia, physiology, Somatosensory Cortex, Species Specificity, Vibration

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          Abstract

          Seismic communication, through low-frequency and patterned substrate-borne vibrations that are generated by head thumping, and which travel long distances underground, is important in the nonvisual communication of subterranean mole rats of the Spalax ehrenbergi superspecies (2n = 52, 54, 58, and 60) in Israel. This importance pertains both intraspecifically in adaptation and interspecifically in speciation. Neurophysiologic, behavioral, and anatomic findings in this study suggest that the mechanism of long-distance seismic communication is basically somatosensory and is independent of the auditory mechanism. Seismic communication thus appears to be a channel of communication important in the evolution of subterranean mammals that display major adaptation to life underground.

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          Journal
          1996326
          50996

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