Fish ear link to climate study

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 March, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 18 March, 1993, 12:00am

SCIENTISTS have found a new place to look for information about climatic conditions thousands of years ago: inside fish ears.

Tiny stones called otoliths form within the inner ears of fish that are build-ups of aragonite, a mineral synthesised by fish daily.

Just as rings in a tree give clues about the seasons the tree grew in, these otoliths can be analysed to determine water temperatures at the time they formed.

The technique works just as well whether the fish in question died last week or a million years ago, said Dr William Patterson, a University of Michigan researcher