In some birds especially owls, we can observe a structure called facial disk, which is mainly composed of feathers and helps to direct sound to their ears. While being more common in owls, adding up to their asymmetrical ears to result in great hearing capabilities, this trait is also observed in harpy eagles, which can "retract" this structure as seen on the upper left and bottom right pictures below: enter image description here

Now, my main issue in adapting this structure is the fact that it's composed of feathers. Could a 4 eared creature possibly develop a similar structure out of bones, skin and cartilage alone? The creature by default has smooth skin with a muscular layer below, high number of chromatophores and lacks hair, feathers or scales; much like a Cuttlefish. It relies on its sensitive hearing to hunt at night.

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    $\begingroup$ Are you asking about a rigid facial disk? Because I see no reason for which ear pavilions made of skin/cartilage wouldn't be as efficient, even if one for each of the 4 ears. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2020 at 22:55

1 Answer 1


Make it evolve from the equivalent of frilled lizard and you may have your bird evolving a facial disk even before evolving wings (frilled lizards being able to climb on trees to escape predators, you may even have an evolutionary advantage pushing for wings)

If you don't need a bird, that's fine, the example shows that it is possible.


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