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No. 49: Jan-Feb 1987

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Grounded Bats Nicheless

New Zealand boasts two bat species (Mystacina) which can fly but really prefer to clamber around on the ground hunting for insects, pollen, and fruit. So far, these bats have defied classification. They are distinctly different from their flying cousins in the area. Blood protein analysis links them to tropical bats in South America. No oth-er bats from New Zealand and Australia show such a relationship. Although these two oddball species may have flown in from South America some 80 million years ago, when the land masses were thought to be much closer, one then has to explain how these tropical bats survived the Ice Ages that afflicted New Zealand.

(Anonymous; "Grounded Bats," New Scientist, p. 25, October 2, 1986.)

From Science Frontiers #49, JAN-FEB 1987. � 1987-2000 William R. Corliss