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Quantifying hair bundle motion

The motion of individual hair bundles in the cochlea is a complex function of both frequency and spatial location. This image uses color to encode the phase of hair bundle deflection across the alligator lizard (Elgaria multicarinata) cochlea in response to a 4 kHz tone. Blue colors indicate the shortest phase lags, while red colors indicate the longest. In the apical part of the cochlea (bottom of image), the phase lags are large, indicating that these hair bundles had a mechanical resonance at lower frequencies. In the basal part of the cochlea, which responds best to frequencies near 4 kHz, the phase lags are significantly shorter.