March 25, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Bats Defy Evolution

[Bats are highly successful and diverse mammals, the only mammals capable of powered flight.

 

Tiny computers reveal how wild bats hunt so efficiently (Aarhus University). Unlike the stories in the previous post, this press release ignores evolution. Instead, researchers were interested in the sonic wizardry of bats, seeking to understand how they navigate the cluttered audio environment in which they hunt in the dark. To figure it out, they had to find a way to make tiny microphones they could attach to the bats. After recapturing the bats and listening to the results, lead author Dr. Laura Stidsholt said, “We experienced the world through the ears of the bats by recording their echoes directly on-board while they were hunting for insects at night.” Here’s what they found:

The bats’ echolocation is more advanced than previously thought. Bats muffle their screams almost to a whisper when hunting, so echoes from trees and buildings do not drown out echoes from the prey. This is revealed by an international research team led by Aarhus University using miniature computers that they have put on the backs of wild bats.

A short embedded video shows the tiny computer microphones and how they were used in tests. The open-access paper, published by the AAAS in Science Advances 3 March 2021, finds that bat hunting strategy is highly efficient.

These results show how wild bats adjust their sensory sampling and flight motor planning during foraging so as to separate clutter and prey sensory streams in time and space. Doing so may critically facilitate perceptual organization of their sensory inputs to inform echo-guided captures in less than 0.5 s.

The paper only mentions evolution twice in passing. The authors merely assume that natural selection [the Stuff Happens Law] worked in the distant past:

  • “[O]wls and cats that have similarly evolved very sensitive hearing….”
  • “Bats are therefore extreme examples of predators that have evolved a flexible and rapid control over their dominant sensory system and motor actions to hunt fast, evasive prey efficiently in highly dynamic and complex scenes.”

Such statements add nothing to the empirical science in the research project. They merely perpetuate the public Darwin myth in the media, like a town crier calling “Long live King Charlie,” repeated periodically to keep the populace compliant.

Flying foxes are among the largest bats.

Fruit bats are the only bats that can’t (and never could) use echolocation. Now we’re closer to knowing why (The Conversation). At The Conversation, which is really more a Leftist/Darwinist echo chamber than a dialog, two female Darwinists use the e-word evolution 13 times. If bats have echolocation, it evolved. If fruit bats don’t have echolocation, it evolved.

An international study led by us, published today in Current Biology, has shown how the capability for sophisticated echolocation not only evolved multiple times in groups of bats, but also that it never evolved in fruit bats.

The authors also insert the e-word unnecessarily several times:

  • “…the puzzle of how echolocation evolved in bats, moving closer to solving a decades-long evolutionary mystery.” Why not just a mystery?
  • “Scientists lack the specimens needed to reconstruct the 65-million-year evolutionary history of bats.” Why not just the history? There are no fossil pre-bats. The first fossil bat is 100% bat.
  • Evolutionary studies have shown that if a group of species ends up losing a trait its ancestors possessed, not all aspects of the trait are completely lost.” Why not just studies?

Well Preserved Bat, Onychonycteris from Fossil Butte National Monument. Wyoming. It looks like a modern bat. (Wiki Commons)

The article embeds a cute video about echolocation that includes examples of bat calls reduced into humans’ audible hearing range. The video says nothing about evolution.

When looking at details of bats, the challenge to evolution becomes evident. Bats can tell the distance, speed, and texture of prey from the echoes.

Batcon.org says that bats account for 20% of all mammal species. They also live longer than other animals their size; one species in Eurasia lives 41 years. They also provide tremendous economic benefit to humans, consuming tons of insects each night, and pollinating some important crops like bananas, guava and figs. Here are some amazing facts in their small booklet, “Bat Facts” –

  • The world’s smallest mammal is the bumblebee bat of Thailand, an endangered bat that weighs less than a penny.
  • The golden-crowned flying fox is one of the largest bats in the world, with a wingspan of up to 5’6″ and weighing up to 2.6 lbs.
  • Bats are the only mammal capable of true flight.
  • Fishing bats have echolocation so sophisticated that they can detect a minnow’s fin, as fine as a human hair, protruding only two millimeters above a pond’s surface.
  • Mother Mexican free-tailed bats find and nurse their own young, even in huge colonies where many millions of babies cluster at up to 500 individuals per square foot.

Traits as complex as these challenge the Stuff Happens Law. Complex systems capable of audio engineering, powered flight and kin recognition in crowds give evidence of intelligent design. Evolution should not take credit for systems it cannot create.

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