Scientists have uncovered the secret of the “superpowers” of porpoises
Best military sonars pale in comparison with the capabilities of echolocation of porpoises, which use sonar to track prey, predators and obstacles.
Marine mammals can find objects the size of a few centimeters at a distance of 100 m. This is akin to the discovery of a walnut on a football field, reports Scientific American.
A recent study showed that an ultra echolocation of porpoises is possible due to regulated structures in their heads. Scientists hope that it will help people to improve our own sonar technology.
Sonar determines the location and size of the objects emitting the sound waves and evaluating the return time of reflected signals. Usually, if the source of the sonar pulse is less than the wavelength of the sound, he lets go of the audio signals in all directions like a diffuse light on a disco ball. To send the beam in a certain direction, the source must be much larger than the wavelength. But porpoises ignore this requirement.
To find out how they do it, the researchers used CT scanning heads beserah porpoises (Neophocaena phocaenoides).
“If we can understand how these structures operate, then we will be able to redesign our sonar system and place them in the [smaller] boats,” says Wanlu Cao, a physicist from the University of Pennsylvania and co-author of the study.