Why can’t we close our ears like we can close our eyes?
Asked by: Emre Yorgancıgil, Istanbul, Turkey
We have evolved eyelids to protect our eyes from drying out or getting scratched. When you are sleeping, it is dark anyway, so there’s not much point in your eyes being open. But your ears have evolved as an important early warning mechanism, allowing you to wake up if, say, there’s a tiger growling in the undergrowth.
Some animals, including seals, otters and hippos, can close their ears, but this is to keep water out while swimming.
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Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.
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