Science, Just Science

21 February 2008

News In Science: World’s Oldest Bat Hunted Without Sonar

Filed under: Education,Science — Kyuuketsuki @ 6:27 pm

From Australia’s ABC “News In Science” site:

A nearly perfect bat fossil, the oldest ever found, lacked a key feature seen in most bats: the ability to hunt and navigate using sonar.

The finding, settles a long-simmering evolutionary debate: first came flight, and only then did bats develop echolocation to track and trap their prey.

Most experts thought it was the other way around, according to the study in today’s issue of the journal Nature.

Echolocation, the ability to emit high-pitched squeaks and hear the echo bouncing off flying insects as small as a mosquito, was assumed to be what made a bat a bat.

There are over 1000 species of bats in the world today, and all of them can ping the air with sound waves.

But some, especially larger fruit bats, depend on their sense of smell and sight to find food, showing that the winged mammals could survive without their amazingly capacity to gauge the location, direction and speed of flying creatures in the dark.

The bat, which would have flown around 52 million years ago, was dug out of limestone deposits in the US state of Wyoming in 2003.

[Read The Rest Of The Article Here]

James “Kyuuketsuki” Rocks (UK Tech Portal)

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