echte Gehörsinn

"True sense of hearing", defined by von Buddenbrock (1937) [1] as a sense detceted by a resonating organ. 

"Wir werden einen Gehorsinn nur dann als bewiesen ansehen, wenn sich nachweisen lasst, dass das betreffende Sinnesorgan seiner Struktur nach spezifisch auf die Wahrnehmung von Schallwellen eingestellt ist. Das Kriterium des Gehorsinns ist daher das besonders ausgebildete Gehororgan, welches als charac- terisches Element in stets wiederkehrende Weise eine oder mehrere Membranen besitzt, die zum Mitschwingen durch Hesonanz befahigt sind.” [1]

This distinction between hearing and other vinratory senses, such as touch, is dismissed as anthropocentric by Pumphrey [2] : "Such a definition is clearly founded on the human analogy. The first sentence seems to imply that there is some fundamental distinction between sound waves and other mechanical stimuli, presumably on the grounds that touch and hearing are distinct in man, for the assumption can hardly be maintained in the face of the evidence bearing on the evolution of sound receptors either in vertebrate or other animals. But the second sentence goes even further. The final criterion of an auditory organ is not its specific sensitivity to sound waves, but a resemblance in certain arbitrary structural particulars to the human ear. If this criterion be accepted, fish are deaf by definition ... and only those insects with tympanic organs can hear. It is then necessary to invent an other sense, sensitivity to vibrations or Erschütterungssinn to explain the responsiveness to sound of animals which have no echter Gehorsinn."


  1. von Buddenbrock WD. Grundiss der vergleichenden Physiologie. Berlin: Borntraeger; 1937.
  2. Pumphrey RJ. Hearing in Insects. Biological Reviews. 1940;15(1):107 - 132. Available at:

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith