Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. One of many minute calcareous particles found in the inner ear of vertebrates and in the statocysts of many invertebrates. Also called statolith.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A small particle, comprised mainly of calcium carbonate, found in the inner ear of vertebrates, being part of the balance sense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. One of the small bones or particles of calcareous or other hard substance in the internal ear of vertebrates, and in the auditory organs of many invertebrates; an ear stone. Collectively, the otoliths are called ear sand and otoconite.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A calcareous concretion within the membranous labyrinth of the ear.
  • n. One of the proper otic bones of some animals, as certain fishes; an otosteon. See cuts under Esox and Python.
  • n.

Etymologies

From Ancient Greek ωτο (ōto), stem of οὖς (ous, "ear") + λίθος (lithos, "stone"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • In order to assess growth, a small number of bass of all sizes are killed and a bone, known as the otolith, is extracted from the skull.

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  • Find an otolith expert and he or she will be able to give you a menu ...

    Boing Boing

  • In the first place, each species of fish has a unique otolith shape.

    Boing Boing

  • The Ciona βγ-crystallin is only expressed in the palps and in the otolith, the pigmented sister cell of the light-sensing ocellus.

    Insight Into Eye Evolution Deals Blow To Intelligent Design - The Panda's Thumb

  • In each chamber is a membranous sac containing an otolith, and the auditory nerves pass from the cerebral ganglia into the cartilaginous chambers to reach the auditory sacs.

    On the Genesis of Species

  • The round vesicles which are considered to be their auscultory vesicles, and which contain an otolith, are supposed to be merely organs of the sense of space ( "static vesicles or statocysts").

    The Evolution of Man — Volume 2

  • The shared roll-tilt dependent modulation of trial-to-trial variability for both SVV and SHV, on the other hand, indicates that the perception of earth-verticality is dominated by the same sensory signal, i.e. the otolith signal, independent of whether the line/rod setting is under visual or tactile control.

    BioMed Central - Latest articles

  • Other articles included in the special issue evaluate the comparative benefits of different types of vestibular rehabilitation exercises (habituation exercises versus gaze stability exercises) to reduce dizziness and improve gaze stability, as well as the influence of damage to the otolith organs of the inner ear on outcomes following vestibular rehabilitation.

    Newswise: Latest News

  • She removed a tiny ear bone, known as an otolith, from each fish, and measured the chemical elements contained in it.

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

  • Mangel Pflugeisen compared the amounts two key elements, strontium and calcium, at the core of each otolith -- the part of the bone that grew just after the fish hatched.

    PhysOrg.com - latest science and technology news stories

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  • "In the cod it is of the size of a horse-bean, and is curved on itself. The ear-stones of the American sheepshead are shaped like a tamarind-seed, and look like pieces of milky quartz. They are often carried in the pocket as “lucky stones.”"
    --from the Century Dictionary

    April 6, 2011

  • "The men on Leonard's boat are tagging and releasing as many fish as they can catch. At the same time, the fishermen on the other boat are supposed to catch exactly 100 fish, open them up to see if they are male or female, and remove a tiny bone from the head, the otolith, which helps the cod keep its balance. The rings of the otolith tell the cod's age."
    —Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (New York: Penguin, 1997), 4.

    July 14, 2009