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Holy Pleistocene Batman, the answer's in the cave

Let's say you wanted to solve a 20,000-year-old mystery, where would you start? Perhaps archaeology and geology come to mind. Or, you could sift through a 3-metre pile of bat faeces.

Making the best of sparse information

New findings reported by LMU researchers challenge a generally accepted model of echolocation in bats. They demonstrate that bats require far less spatial information than previously thought to navigate effectively.

New whistle alerts bats to steer clear of wind turbines

Wind turbines are a critical component in the strategy for energy independence, but these massive structures are also killing bats. The U.S. Geological Survey estimates that the more than 52,000 wind turbines operating in ...

Vaccination may help protect bats from deadly disease

A new study shows that vaccination may reduce the impact of white-nose syndrome in bats, marking a milestone in the international fight against one of the most destructive wildlife diseases in modern times.

Migrating bats use the setting sun

Bats weighing no more than 6 grams, migrating over a thousand miles from the Baltic to Britain, could be the key to revealing how migrating mammals navigate.

Bat

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Bats are mammals in the order Chiroptera (pronounced /kaɪˈrɒptərə/). The forelimbs of bats are developed as wings, making them the only mammals naturally capable of flight (opposed to other mammals, such as flying squirrels, gliding possums and colugos, that glide only for a distance). Bats do not flap arms like birds, instead they flap spread out hands where their fingers are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium. Chiroptera comes from two Greek words cheir (χειρ) "hand" and pteron (πτερον) "wing."

There is an estimated total of about 1,100 species worldwide, which is about 20 percent of all classified mammal species. About 70 percent of bats are insectivores. Most of the rest are frugivores, with a few species being carnivorous. Bats are present throughout most of the world and perform a vital ecological role by pollinating flowers, and eat various plants to dispere their seeds. Many tropical plants depend for their seeds to be distributed entirely by bats.

Bats range in size from Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat measuring 29–33 mm (1.14–1.30 in) in length and 2 g (0.07 oz) in mass, to the Giant golden-crowned flying fox which has a wing span of 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) and weighs approximately 1.2 kg (3 lb).

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