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Bio-Acoustics

Hide and Seek

Bio-Acoustics 107

As a youngster, a moonless night meant we could play hide and seek with adequate challenge. When an especially good hiding place was found it often resulted in exasperation on the part of the seeker. With sufficient seeker exasperation would come the request: "Make a sound."

I didn't know why at the time, but you either made a deep gruff "over here" or a high pitched, squeaky "Hey!" The seeker would the do the calculus in his head, which humans can do before they take pre-calculus, and walk in the proper direction.

If the hider is dumb enough to say "over here" or "Hey!" too many times the seeker could easily find you because humans can directionally localize sounds between 0.018 and 0.108 radians (1 to 6 degrees). See Lewis 1983 [Bioacoustics: A Comparative Approach. Academic Press]. At the time I didn't know it made a difference being a fathead or a pinhead in detecting sounds from the hiders.

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