Evidence for echolocation in the oldest known bats


Material Information

Evidence for echolocation in the oldest known bats
Series Title:
Novacek, Michael J.
Publication Date:


Subjects / Keywords:
Palaeochiropteryx ( local )
Icaronycteris ( local )
Sonar System ( local )
Microchiropteran History ( local )
serial ( sobekcm )


The earliest-known bats are represented by excellent fossil material, including virtually complete skeletons of Icaronycteris index from the early Eocene (50 Myr BP) of western Wyoming1,2 and Palaeochiropteryx tupaiodon from the middle Eocene (45 Myr BP) ‘Grube Messel’ of western Germany3,4. These taxa have been closely allied1,5 with Recent Microchiroptera, a suborder of diverse bats noted for their powers of ultrasonic echolocation6. A problem with this relationship is the alleged absence in the Eocene forms of specializations in the auditory region7 and other aspects of the skeletal system1,2. It has been proposed, therefore, that the oldest bats are members of a group more primitive and possibly ancestral to the Microchiroptera and the visually oriented Megachiroptera8. Previously undescribed specimens now show, however, that Icaronycteris (Fig. 1) and Palaeochiropteryx (Fig. 2) share special basicranial features with microchiropterans which suggest comparable refinement of ultrasonic echolocation. These results support the theory that a sophisticated sonar system was present in the earliest records of microchiropteran history.
Original Version:
Nature, Vol. 315 (1985-05-09).

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
This object is protected by copyright, and is made available here for research and educational purposes. Permission to reuse, publish, or reproduce the object beyond the bounds of Fair Use or other exemptions to copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holder.

USFLDC Membership

University of South Florida
Karst Information Portal

Postcard Information



Download Options


No images or PDF downloads are available for this resource.

Cite this item close


Cras ut cursus ante, a fringilla nunc. Mauris lorem nunc, cursus sit amet enim ac, vehicula vestibulum mi. Mauris viverra nisl vel enim faucibus porta. Praesent sit amet ornare diam, non finibus nulla.


Cras efficitur magna et sapien varius, luctus ullamcorper dolor convallis. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Fusce sit amet justo ut erat laoreet congue sed a ante.


Phasellus ornare in augue eu imperdiet. Donec malesuada sapien ante, at vehicula orci tempor molestie. Proin vitae urna elit. Pellentesque vitae nisi et diam euismod malesuada aliquet non erat.


Nunc fringilla dolor ut dictum placerat. Proin ac neque rutrum, consectetur ligula id, laoreet ligula. Nulla lorem massa, consectetur vitae consequat in, lobortis at dolor. Nunc sed leo odio.