The evolution of 'earlessness' in the true Toad family (Bufonidae)
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Anurans (frogs and toads) have a tympanic middle ear to transmit airborne sound from the environment to their inner ear sensory cells. Yet, many bufonid (true toad) species have independently evolved earlessness, the lack of a tympanic middle ear, despite the importance of acoustic communication in most toad mating systems. My thesis aims to determine why middle ear structures are so evolutionarily labile in the Bufonidae family by comparing development, sensory, and morphological data of eared and earless toads within a phylogenetic context. I show that the middle ear forms very late in the ...