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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Steve's Nature Quiz #14

We were getting a bit batty a couple of weeks ago but are bats most closely related to

a) whales

b) shrews

c) mice


Bats, whales shrews, mice and ourselves for that matter are all placental mammals with a common ancestor from about 80-100 million years ago. From this ancestor two separate branches evolved; one containing ourselves and other primates along with rabbits and rodents (which includes the mice) and one containing the bats and a host of other mammals too numerous to mention. So we and the mice waved goodbye to the bats and the next group to go their own way included the hedgehogs, shrews and moles. Surprisingly then, bats are more closely related to whales than they are to either shrews or mice. Who'd have thought it?

For more weird nature facts follow the Crete Nature Blog

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thank you Steve for the wonderful post. We should have more of this to remind people the beauty of life. That aside, let me take the opportunity to clarify the position of bats, Chiroptera, in the evolutionary tree. Bats for longtime were treated and grouped together in the superorder Archonta. The same order where primates, flying lemurs and tree shrews were put in. In molecular investigations it has been proven that bats should be grouped in the Laurasiatheria. This is the same group where carnivores, pangolins and the perissodactyl belong. From there on, it gets a little more muddy and that would go too far here. I refer to Eick et al (2005) for more information. Thanks!

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    1. Thanks Raymund. The situation is very complex as you say and still being unravelled. My information comes from Tsagkogeorga, G; Parker, J; Stupka, E; Cotton, JA; Rossiter, SJ (2013). "Phylogenomic analyses elucidate the evolutionary relationships of bats (Chiroptera)". Current Biology. 23 (22): 2262–2267. PMID 24184098. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2013.09.014. (via Wikipedia)

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  3. Awesome! I honestly thought shrew (shows you how much I know). Thank you.

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    1. Thanks Clare. I would have put my money on shrew as well until I discovered differently.

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