Monday, November 28. 2022
Lots of mammals use body hair for motion detection. Cats use their whiskers to identify objects in darkness, but these sensitive hairs can even detect changing air currents in a room. Useful if an obnoxious, cat-bothering child is silently on the prowl.
Underwater, this ability can be even more helpful. Whiskers, known as vibrissae, are present in animals as diverse as hippos, river dolphins, and sea otters.
Seals, the best-studied of these groups, have the largest “mystacial vibrissae” of any mammals. These luxurious mustaches grow to at least 41 cm in length and are vital to their hunting in low visibility.
Each whisker on a seal contains around 1000–1600 nerve fibers. That’s about ten times more than found in rats or cats. The vibrissae are extraordinarily sensitive. Seals can discriminate between objects of slightly differing sizes as well as monkeys can with their hands.
All information from naturetripper.com
GATES UPDATE: We are on day 28 of November and have raised $800! Keep up the good work team! Thank you to everyone who has supported us so far.