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.)
- No-Take Zones in Belize Could Rebuild Conch, Lobster, and Grouper Populations Posted Tue, July 29, 2014
- Video: Spangled Emperor Fish Dazzle the Great Barrier Reef Posted Wed, July 23, 2014
- Impacts of Climate Change on Highly Migratory Species Prioritized in NMFS Management Plan Posted Tue, July 29, 2014
- Ocean News: Regulators Propose Whale Sanctuary in the Canary Islands, Harbor Seals Found to Forage around Wind Farms, and More Posted Thu, July 24, 2014
- Ocean News: Climate Change Threatens Red Knots, Pacific Island Leaders Meet to Discuss Ocean Conservation, and More Posted Wed, July 30, 2014