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Abstract

The inner ears of 35 adult chickens were studied by TEM, SEM and light microscopy. Two well differentiated hair cell/nerve ending units were present: tall hair cells with small vesiculated nerve endings were located on the attached part of the basilar membrane; short hair cells with large vesiculated nerve endings were located on the free basilar membrane except for the distal tip. In this respect the chicken ear is similar to that of the pigeon. The chickens examined did have some unique features. Sensory cells of lenticular and hemispheric shape were also present at the proximal end. Bundles of long dense tubules were seen frequently within the sensory cell cytoplasm. Kinocilia were absent from the hair bundles of many of the sensory cells. The internal structure of the kinocilia which were present was atypical and consisted of a variable number of doublets. Eight peripheral plus one central doublet were found most frequently.