Evolutionary Convergence in Mammalian Bio-sonar

Though they evolved separately over millions of years in different worlds of darkness, bats and toothed whales use surprisingly similar acoustic behavior to locate, track, and capture prey using echolocation, the biological equivalent of sonar. Now a team of Danish researchers has shown that the acoustic Read More...

Hyperfast Echolocation Muscles in Bats

With vision, animals receive a more-or-less continuous stream of information about the world. With echolocation, however, bats only get a snapshot of their environment with each call and echo, requiring them to make rapid successions of calls. By bouncing sound waves off objects, including the bugs that are their main diet, bats can produce an accurate representation of their environment Read More...

Listening In – Bats Recognize Echolocation Calls of Other Species

Bat echolocation calls evolved to optimize the information returning as echoes. Consequently, bats that forage or roost in similar habitats tend to evolve similar calls. Because echolocation calls emitted by one bat can readily be overheard by other bats in the area, the question is Read More...

Right-handed Clicks in Porpoises

To be clear, dolphins are not porpoises and porpoises are not dolphins. They are related, of course; both are toothed whales (Odontoceti). However, dolphins belong to the family Delphinidae and porpoises belong to the family Phocoenidae). Porpoises are the smaller, chubbier Read More...

Echolocation or flight first?

The debate continues; did echolocation or flight evolve first in bats? The discovery of a beautifully preserved Eocene bat Onychonycteris finneyi led researchers to conclude that it lacked the morphology of the stylohyal bone (a part of the laryngeal apparatus) necessary for Read More...