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Journal Articles Communications Biology Year : 2022

Spatial release from masking in crocodilians

Julie Thévenet
Léo Papet
Zilca Campos
Michael Greenfield
Nicolas Boyer
  • Function : Author
Nicolas Mathevon


Abstract Ambient noise is a major constraint on acoustic communication in both animals and humans. One mechanism to overcome this problem is Spatial Release from Masking (SRM), the ability to distinguish a target sound signal from masking noise when both sources are spatially separated. SRM is well described in humans but has been poorly explored in animals. Although laboratory tests with trained individuals have suggested that SRM may be a widespread ability in vertebrates, it may play a limited role in natural environments. Here we combine field experiments with investigations in captivity to test whether crocodilians experience SRM. We show that 2 species of crocodilians are able to use SRM in their natural habitat and that it quickly becomes effective for small angles between the target signal source and the noise source, becoming maximal when the angle exceeds 15 ∘ . Crocodiles can therefore take advantage of SRM to improve sound scene analysis and the detection of biologically relevant signals.
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Dates and versions

hal-03763553 , version 1 (29-08-2022)



Julie Thévenet, Léo Papet, Zilca Campos, Michael Greenfield, Nicolas Boyer, et al.. Spatial release from masking in crocodilians. Communications Biology, 2022, 5 (1), pp.869. ⟨10.1038/s42003-022-03799-7⟩. ⟨hal-03763553⟩
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