Echolocation (Encyclopedia of Science)
In the animal kingdom, certain animals determine the location of an object by producing sounds, then interpreting the echoes that are created when those sounds bounce off the object. This process is called echolocation. The only animals that use this unique sense ability are certain mammalsats, dolphins, porpoises, and toothed whales. It now is believed that these animals use sound to "see" objects in equal or greater detail than humans.
Mammals developed echolocation as an evolutionary response to night life or to life in dark, cloudy waters. Long ago, bats that ate insects during the day might have been defeated in the struggle for survival by birds, which are better flyers and extremely sharp-sighted. Similarly, toothed whales, porpoises, and dolphins might have been quickly driven to extinction by sharks, which have a very keen sense of smell. These marine mammals not only compete with sharks for food sources, but have themselves been preyed upon by sharks. Echolocation helps them find food and escape from predators.
(The entire section is 761 words.)
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