Friday, February 21, 2014

Rowan The Eyeless Dog, Sees Like Bats & Dolphins

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All warm blooded animals were created by God to have five basic senses. However, when we lose our sight, or are born blind, we find it difficult to deal with a world made for those who see. Blind people cope in a world built for eyes by using trained guide dogs. It has been a partnership that both man and dog have learned to appreciate and love.

Well, what I have for you today is a video of a German Spitz dog named Rowan, who was born with no eyes. Except for his owner who takes care of him, he has no seeing-eye human. I guess you can say he is blessed in that he still has the senses that all dogs use to communicate with each other. He also doesn't feel less of a dog because he cannot see. After all, as far as he is concerned, eyes don't exist for anyone. So you probably wonder how he gets around to learn his surroundings if he cannot see.
 Well, it seems that God is truly good because he gave the dog the understanding that he could bark, and then listen for the sound to bounce off an object. It is what scientists call "echolocation," but you may understand it to be like sonar.

Hosted by imgur.comUsing a series of regular barks along with his keen ears, Rowan behaves like a bat in that his movements are not as smooth as most dogs as he runs about enjoying the world around him. Rowan's owner, dog trainer Sam Orchard, was first shocked to discover the dog was born eyeless.

 However, as the the months went by, he realized that Rowan was using echolocation to get around in a black shapeless world. When people first meet Rowan, they don't know that he's blind, so they usually ask, "Why does he keep his eyes closed?" When asked about Rowan's condition, Sam's wife will tell you,

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"When he was born five days early I kept waiting for him to open his eyes, and when he didn't, I took him to the vet. It was a real surprise when he told me that not only would they not be opening, they didn't exist because he was born without eyes. I was shocked, but I decided that I would just do the best I could for him, and now he is just like the others, only a bit more special. "

"Rowan would go out, and to find his direction, he would use his bark. When he's running around in the open, it's just as if he were the same as the rest of my dogs. When he first started going out, there were no leaves on the trees, but when the leaves grew, there was the rustling, and we noticed the change in his behavior. It really does seem to be a form of echolocation."

 For those of you who are clueless as to what Echolocation is: Echolocation is ability that odontocetes (and some other marine mammals and most bats) possess that enables them to see with their ears by listening for echoes. With bats, the sounds are made by their noses. When the sound is reflected off an object the bats picks it up with their sensitive ears. The odontocetes generate sound in the form of clicks, within their nasal sacs, situated behind the melon in their forehead. The frequency of this click is higher than that of the sounds used for communication and differs between species. The melon acts as a lens which focuses the sound into a narrow beam that is projected in front of the animal. The sound is then reflected back to the dolphin in sound waves that received in the panbone which is located in the dolphin or killer whales lower jaw. The sensation is then transferred by the fatty tissue behind it to the middle ear and then to the brain.
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Both the odontocetes and bats must continuously resend the sounds, so they can analyze the time lapsed between signals sent and sound waves received back. This is what allows the creatures to distinguish sizes, shapes, and distances for the purpose of homing in on an object for the express purpose of distinguishing between food and other objects.

This is why you see bats flying in such erratic patterns. Bats will literally make a 90 degree turn in mid-flight if they sense food near by. This highly specialized ability enables dolphins to explore their environment and search out their prey in a watery world where sight is often of little use. In the water, the sound travels four and a half times faster than in air. This advanced system is echolocation, and God has blessed Rowan, the eyeless dog, with it.

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