Blog Tags: Bats
Bats and toothed whales share the ability to squeak and click their way to prey. And now two new studies in this week’s journal Current Biology reveal that their echolocation, which evolved independently in the two groups, has a similar underlying molecular mechanism.
There are plenty of examples of evolutionary convergence, such as the tusks of elephants and walruses, or the bioluminescence of fireflies and jellyfish.
But it’s highly unusual for convergence to occur at the molecular level. Turns out the inner ear hair cells of both the bottlenose dolphin (a toothed whale) and 10 species of bats contain a protein called prestin, which plays an important role in echolocation.
But not all echolocaters are created equal. Because the speed of sound in water is five times that in air, dolphins can use echolocation for more than 100 meters. Bats can only do so for a few meters.
(Hat tip to Monterey Bay’s Sea Notes blog for this story.)
- Oceana Provides Comments to President Obama’s Task Force to Tackle Illegal Fishing and Seafood Fraud Posted Wed, September 10, 2014
- Six Sharks and Rays Gain International Protection under CITES Listing Posted Sun, September 14, 2014
- Infographic: BP to Blame for 2010 Deepwater Oil Disaster, Rules Judge Posted Tue, September 9, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Healthy Corals Mean More Sharks, Extinct Dolphin Found in Peruvian Desert, and More Posted Thu, September 11, 2014
- Ocean Roundup: Sea Turtles Released after Swallowing Fish Hooks, UK Builds Massive Salt Marsh to Protect Coastline, and More Posted Mon, September 8, 2014