Margot Bernardi PhD thesis

Primates hearing: between form, function, ecology and behavior

Funding: doctoral grant 'Paris sciences et lettres'

Supervisors: Sophie Montuire & Sébastien Couette

Thesis beginned in octobre 2015



The morphology of the basi-cranial elements and especially the ear structures shape have been essentially studied for taxonomic and phylogenetic purposes. Since the development of new acquisition techniques such as micro-computed tomography (µCT), new morphological data are available. Thus, interest in the inner and middle ear morphology is growing for many mammals groups. Ear plays an important role in hearing system and balance but most studies focus on balance and locomotion. Hearing is one of the central functions in survival and reproduction of mammals. Hearing sensitivity is variable among primate’s species, suggesting an adaptive selection on this function related to socio-ecological parameters. The order Primates is the third most diverse order (number of species) of mammals, but also one whose life history traits, lifestyles, behaviors and social interactions are the more diverse. The objective of this project is to quantify and understand the morphological variations of the auditory system in the Primate group. It will be discussed under four main headings:
- Maturation of the morphology of the ear during growth,
- Morphology of the ear and vocalizations,
- Morphology of the ear and socio-ecological parameters,
- Morphology of the ear and paleo-ecological and paleo-environmental assumptions in the fossil species.



primate, ear, morphology, hearing, vocalizations, paleo-ecology