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This image, taken through an optical microscope, shows a cross-section of the tectorial membrane, a gelatinous structure that lies atop the tiny hairs that line the inner ear. Photo by Jonathan Sellon, MIT micromechanics group

Mechanism helps explain the ear’s exquisite sensitivity

The human ear, similar to those of different mammals, is so uncommonly delicate that it can detect sound-wave-induced vibrations of the eardrum that move...