Bats : a world of science and mystery by Fenton, Melville Brockett; Simmons, Nancy B

By Fenton, Melville Brockett; Simmons, Nancy B

There are greater than 1,300 species of bats - or nearly 1 / 4 of the world's mammal species. yet prior to you scale back in worry from those bushy "creatures of the night," ponder the bat's primary function in our atmosphere. A unmarried ten-gram bat could consume a number of thousand bugs in an evening. through the tropics and subtropics, fruit and nectar-feeding bats also are the most important to the lives of vegetation, offering both Read more...


There are greater than 1,300 species of bats - or nearly 1 / 4 of the world's mammal species. yet prior to you scale down in worry from those hairy "creatures of the night," contemplate the bat's fundamental Read more...

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40 Bats: A World of Science and Mystery Chapter 2: Ancient Bats 41 Birds appear in the fossil record in the Upper Jurassic, about 160 million years ago—nearly 100 million years before bats. Having survived the extinction event at the end of Cretaceous, birds were diverse and well established worldwide by the time bats came on the scene. Evolutionary biologists wonder what made it possible for bats to evolve in the face of potential competition from birds for food, airspace and roost sites. Nocturnal activity may have been an important factor.

Modern bat faunas are much more diverse in tropical forests than in grassland environments, so perhaps the differences in diversity seen over time at Riversleigh reflect ecological changes. Conversely, preservation may be biasing the composition of these faunas. For example, the Pliocene bat fossils come mostly from a single fossil cave at Riversleigh known as Rackham’s Roost. Any local bat species not roosting in that cave when the deposits were laid down remain undiscovered. This might be one explanation for the absence of Old World Fruit Bats at Riversleigh—most living species roost in trees and avoid caves.

Haupt (bottom), courtesy of the Senkenberg Messel Collection, Frankfurt. Chapter 2: Ancient Bats 49 A Messel Pit, a World Heritage Site located about 35 km. southwest of Frankfurt, Germany, contains even more species of extinct Eocene bats. Unlike the Green River, where bat fossils are exceedingly rare, Messel is rich with bats—over 700 individual bat fossils have been collected there. 5 million years old. The pit that forms the Messel Oil Shale site used to be a quarry, but it is now protected because of the rich fossil fauna that it preserves.

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