Size of the external auditory meatus

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This is a very simple lab station. The size of the opening for the ear canal, called the external auditory meatus, is larger in humans than in most other kinds of primates. Here at this station, you will find some casts that generally bear out that observation. Even the primate much larger than us, the gorilla, has smaller bony openings for the ears.

Use the skulls at this station to examine the size of the external auditory meatus in different kinds of primates. In your comparisons, note whether humans are unusually large or small in this opening. Consider: How closely should the size of this opening be related to the body size?

Can you think of a hypothesis to explain the size of the human external auditory meatus? How would you go about testing this hypothesis?