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The anatomy of the middle ear has been studied in nine species of birds, with particular reference to the structure of the ossicle and its relationship to the tympanic membrane. The morphology of the avian middle ear has been compared to that of the reconstructed human middle ear. Drum to stapes foot plate assemblies created during ossiculoplasty operations differ from the pattern found in the avian middle ear in a number of important respects and this may help to explain why they are often unsuccessful. It is not technically feasible to reproduce the avian middle ear pattern exactly in the human middle ear and developments in reconstructive technique should therefore be directed towards reproducing the three ossicle pattern of the mammalian ear.