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Not so much a blog; just lots of books

Currently reading

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions
Thomas McNamee
Progress: 72/235pages
Conservation of Shadows
Yoon Ha Lee
Progress: 22%
Le premier jour
Marc Levy
Progress: 180/496pages
Moby-Dick: or, The Whale (Penguin Classics)
Herman Melville
Manifold: Time
Stephen Baxter, Chris Schluep
Progress: 99/480pages
The Long War
Stephen Baxter, Terry Pratchett
Progress: 68/501pages

Reading progress update: I've read 7 out of 235 pages.

The Inner Life of Cats: The Science and Secrets of Our Mysterious Feline Companions - Thomas McNamee

My initial impression was favourable. Although the style is anecdotal and somewhat chatty, it also focuses strictly on the cat, Augusta, and discusses her hunting abilities and so on. And then I got to this paragraph:

"Cats can hear higher-frequency sounds than any other terrestrial mammal, quite a bit higher even than dogs—up to one hundred thousand hertz (cycles per second). People max out at about forty thousand, if they haven't been to too many rock concerts or ear-splitting bars (which probably eliminates about half of all American grownups)."

I was like, what? Humans hearing up to 40 kHz? <.<


Supposedly there are some endnotes for this book but I don't see any references for this statement. The figure I'm familiar with for human hearing is 20 kHz, and I saw references to 23 kHz & 28 kHz when I was digging, which still seem plausible (28 kHz is apparently under ideal laboratory conditions), but with dogs commonly getting their hearing range quoted as up to ~45 kHz, it just isn't plausible that humans could possibly hear up to 40 kHz. There will be variations in the exact numbers since you normally have to quote an exact dB level (loudness) to go with a frequency but still. The statement is qualitatively accurate but the numbers are bogus.


I did find one paper that quote 85 kHz in the abstract for the upper end of the range for cats, but the Wikipedia page on hearing ranges refers an upper limit of 79 kHz (mice get 70 kHz). So they can hear ultrasonic mouse squeaks! Tee hee. I also found this really cool chart on that page that seems to use some different numbers (77 kHz for cat, 79 kHz for mouse) but looks cool just the same.Animal hearing frequency range



Apparently some bat species can hear up to 200 kHz, which is just kind of crazy. They do sacrifice hearing on the lower end of the scale though.


And this source gives 64 kHz to cats and 91 kHz to mice!


Anyway, although I may still end up enjoying the book, I'm going to be skeptical of all numbers quoted.