Why can some people wiggle their ears?

Nina is the celebrated star at every birthday party: Not only is she great at making faces, she can also wiggle her ears. What is presented today for entertainment at celebrations and festivals and only mastered by very few, was in earlier times an important survival tool for all mammals, to which we humans belong.


In times when people were still hunters and gatherers, lived in the wilderness and hunted daily, our ancestors had flexible ears. This enabled them to locate noises and possible dangers when hunting. Over the millennia, this ability has reversed. The ear muscles, which are responsible for this movement, are hardly developed. We no longer need this ability in today’s civilized society.

Anyone can practice wiggling their ears

However, a few people have the ability to wiggle their ears. These abilities can still be observed in animals such as dogs and rabbits. They often “pull up” their ears, pricking them up and turning them in different directions in order to be able to quickly hear the call of their master or noises in the forest. But everyone has remnants of this “wiggle ear muscle”. So all non-earwiggers can also train them.

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