Temporal resolution of the Risso's dolphin, Grampus griseus, auditory system. Academic Article uri icon


  • Toothed whales and dolphins (Odontocetes) are known to echolocate, producing short, broadband clicks and receiving the corresponding echoes, at extremely rapid rates. Auditory evoked potentials (AEP) and broadband click stimuli were used to determine the modulation rate transfer function (MRTF) of a neonate Risso's dolphin, Grampus griseus, thus estimating the dolphin's temporal resolution, and quantifying its physiological delay to sound stimuli. The Risso's dolphin followed sound stimuli up to 1,000 Hz with a second peak response at 500 Hz. A weighted MRTF reflected that the animal followed a broad range of rates from 100 to 1,000 Hz, but beyond 1,250 Hz the animal's hearing response was simply an onset/offset response. Similar to other mammals, the dolphin's AEP response to a single stimulus was a series of waves. The delay of the first wave, PI, was 2.76 ms and the duration of the multi-peaked response was 4.13 ms. The MRTF was similar in shape to other marine mammals except that the response delay was among the fastest measured. Results predicted that the Risso's dolphin should have the ability to follow clicks and echoes while foraging at close range.

publication date

  • April 2006