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outer ear




The part of the vertebrate ear that is external to the eardrum (tympanum). It consists of the pinna (where present) – the part that sticks out from the side of the head – and a short tube known as the ear canal or external auditory meatus. At the end of the ear canal is the eardrum and on the other side of this lies the middle ear.

In amphibians and some reptiles, the eardrum is at the surface of the skin.


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   • ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY