Does a duck's quack echo?

All week, the comic strip "Non Sequitur" has been running gags about whether or not a duck's quack echoes. The joke is that once someone asks you the question, you can't stop thinking about it until you know the answer. It's Friday, and I've resisted the temptation to look it up until now, but I've caved!

I can't think of a single scientific reason why a duck's quack WOULDN'T echo, but I had to look it up anyway. The good news? I'm hardly the first person to do it. When I googled "Does a duck's quack echo?" I got 105,000 hits, including links to some real research.

Here are some of the best sources of info:

BBC news: "Sound science is quackers"

Salford University: "The duck's quack echo myth" (This is an awesome page.)

The Straight Dope: "Is it true a duck's quack won't echo?"

Science Made Simple: Does a duck's quack echo?" (Urban Legends and Folklore): "A duck's quack doesn't echo"

MadSci Network: "Why won't the quack of a duck echo?"

SPOILER: Yes, a duck's quack, like any other sound, echoes. But the WAY a duck quacks, with the long "AAAAAACK" sound at the end of the call, tends to mask echoes, making them hard to hear.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Gene's picture
Gene says:

Let us not forget that the inimitable Mythbusters have also covered this topic.

posted on Fri, 11/03/2006 - 1:49pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

oi gene stop getting all technical on us I just came on this page to see if the AAwwwwwwkk echos

posted on Sat, 03/01/2008 - 6:36am


posted on Fri, 11/10/2006 - 11:19am
Jared's picture
Jared says:

Mythbusters is Kool

posted on Wed, 10/10/2007 - 3:03pm
tis-chick-s0-fly's picture
tis-chick-s0-fly says:

I think ducks they do echoes when they quack...

posted on Mon, 10/27/2008 - 8:20am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

But what is the sound of one hand clapping?

posted on Mon, 05/07/2012 - 2:02pm

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