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Who are its ancestors?

  1. Oct 10, 2003 #1
    I was just thinking about bats, and I have a question: Where did they come from?!

    I can think of no animals that are even close to being related to the bat (except perhaps certain rodents (the bat is not a rodent, btw), like mice), and there are no other flying mammals, so they seem to be something of a unique case.

    Anyway, I would appreciate it if someone could show the line (or, at least, possible lines) of descent toward bats.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 10, 2003 #2
    I'd imagine it'd be from gliding mammals. Like flying squirrells and whatnot.
     
  4. Oct 10, 2003 #3

    Monique

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    I'd have to say squirrels too, at least it has to be a mammal of some kind, a gliding squirrel comes very close I guess..
     
  5. Oct 10, 2003 #4
    Well, CSF and Monique, you're probably right (since the gliding squirrel has evolved the membranes for gliding, which could possibly have evolved into fully functional wings), but these are two very different species. Are there any intermediaries between the two (perhaps) that you can think of?
     
  6. Oct 10, 2003 #5

    Monique

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    What are those evolutionary trees called to depict evolutionary routes? Philogenetic? If I spelled it correctly, then there is no information on Google about it in relation to bats :)
     
  7. Oct 10, 2003 #6

    iansmith

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    Here the phylogenetic tree

    http://tolweb.org/tree?group=Eutheria&contgroup=Mammalia

    Squirrels and mice are both related to each other with beaver and other rodent. Bat are actually on the same lineage as primates and bat have a common ancestor with "flying lemur" but they are not lemur and they glide.
     
  8. Oct 10, 2003 #7
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2003
  9. Oct 11, 2003 #8
    Very interesting stuff, Robert. Thanks for the link.

    So, the Chiroptera could be considered primates? Just how smart are they, when compared to (other) primates?
     
  10. Oct 11, 2003 #9

    selfAdjoint

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    Not primates, not even simians, but we both descend from those little insectivore beasties, back in the eocene, or was it the palaeocene? IIRC Linnaeus spotted the kinship back in his original book. Probably because our digits, in spite of obvious specialization, are still close to the primitive stage. Our thumbs and feet, and their wings, are really very small adaptations of five fingered paws.
     
  11. Oct 12, 2003 #10

    Phobos

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    Interesting to see from iansmith's link that bats are more closely related to primates than to mice/squirrels/etc. as initially suspected. At least, that's the implication I get from that simplified diagram. Perhaps the actual ancestral history is a bit more complex.
     
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