Superfast Muscles In Bats Provide Evolutionary Step Forward For Mammals

Posted by on September 30th, 2011

Songbirds and Snakes thought they were really awesome with their superfast muscles. But we mammals, we are not to be left out, no. Bats have now been proven to use the special class of muscle to help create their echolocation calls.

The discovery of superfast muscles in mammals may also help scientists disentangle the muscles’ evolution overall, Elemans said.

For instance, researchers will now be able to compare the bat genome with other genomes of superfast-muscled animals—such as songbirds and snakes—to figure out when and how the muscles evolved.

What’s more, Elemans suggests that the tracking boost afforded by terminal buzz helped bats flourish when they first evolved 50 million years ago.

“You need these buzzes to catch stuff,” Elemans said. In addition to flight and “regular” echolocation, terminal buzz is “the third reason why they’ve been successful evolutionarily.”

[National Geographic]

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