3
$\begingroup$

This animal specie is a carnivore, and they hunt in packs. Their communication is pretty much based on sound, and they rely on mimethism to remain unnoticed. They prevail on their prey by number, not by size.

They have developed a fancy ability: by having two larynxes and two mouths (or the anatomic equivalent of the structure devoted to sound emission) to emitt sounds, they can strongly improve the directionality of their vocal emission by manipulating sound interference. In this way they can achieve that while their prey hears a flimsy whisper, their pack hear a clear shouting.

Would this be realistic under current known laws of physics? Are there any shortcoming?

$\endgroup$
  • $\begingroup$ What about using a different wavelength that's not percieved by the prey? $\endgroup$ – Masclins Mar 2 '17 at 7:29
9
$\begingroup$

Directional sound is a problem that has already been solved in biology with several organisms such as bats,some whales and dolphins having evolved the ability to produce and detect directional beams of sounds. They use these beams for echolocation rather than communication but there is no reason in principle why they could not be use on this manner.

Echoloating bats emit a highly directional beam in the field. , this is a paper from the Royal Society B on one experiment that shows this proved in the field by taking recording of bats in their natural habitat.

$\endgroup$
2
$\begingroup$

As Sarriesfan mentioned in his/her answer, animals can use directed sound waves, however sound waves will bounce back. As in the case of bats, bats use these echoes to locate objects. If your pack will be communicating with each other this way, their fur should be sound absorbing, they also need to be in an open area (no other surface to direct sound waves back to the pray). And there goes the hiding places.

Higher or lower frequencies may be another option as mentioned in the comment of Albert Masclans. However in this case prays will evolve to sensing/hearing this frequency after a time possibly.

$\endgroup$
1
$\begingroup$

Directional sound is certainly possible under the current laws of physics. There are two methods that I know of that we use to produce it. The first is a parabolic speaker which is eventually an ordinary speaker pointed at a parabolic dish. The second is using a large speaker compared to the wavelength of the sound. Normally this is done using an array of speakers driven in phase like this: http://www.soundlazer.com/

I'm not sure how an array of sound producing organs in an animal could work; given that the organs would need to all produce exactly the same sound at exactly the same time it would be prone to injury or misalignment. But I could see an animal have a very large sound organ or a body structure shaped like a parabolic reflector.

As to drawbacks, it would be directional so if an animal wanted to communicate with another animal it would have to point it's sound producing organ at another. Also any animal in the sound's path would hear the noise not necessarily just members of the pack.

$\endgroup$

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.