Posts Tagged With: Flight

#Bat Wings #Chiroptera /|\^o^/|\ (#Science #Biology #Anatomy #Evolution)

(Fruit Bat)PikiWiki_Israel_11327_Wildlife_and_Plants_of_Israel-Bat-003

This is some of the research that contributed to the recently released Darwin’s Paradox: An international science mysteryhttp://amzn.to/2k8qJgi. Bats have a major role in this books, also the people who try to protect them when they become a target of fearful people during the pandemic.

In mammals, teeth provide quick and easy information as to diet, and an endless source of argument as to whether homo sapiens sapiens (that’s you) are carnivores or herbivores. Of course, the answer to this argument is that we are omnivores.

Tigre_d'Asie_à_robe_blanche

Sharp, pointed teeth indicate a carnivorous diet. In fact, most felines are obligate carnivores, so putting you pet cat on a vegan diet will kill it.

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Flat, grinding teeth indicate a plant based diet. This horse is a typical herbivore and loves a vegan diet.

1024px-Darwin's_finches_by_Gould

Often examining isolated characteristics can tell a lot about an animal’s environment, diet, and place in the food chain. Darwin famously famously supported his case for evolution be cataloging the beaks of finches.

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In the case of bats, wings provide instant information about environment, diet, and prey. Most bats are designed on the model of jet fighter for maneuverability. They use this to avoid obstacles when flying inside caves or through trees.

They also, like fighter jets, use sonar (radar) and agility to track and capture flying targets. These bats have relatively short wings. The same can be seen in birds that live in forest and jungle environments.

1024px-USAF_Lockheed_C-141C_Starlifter_65-0248

Alternately wings might be long. Relative large wings optimize for distance flying.

Fruit bats have long wings appropriate for their stationary targets (fruit) and look more like cargo transports or bombers. Carrion birds like vultures and condors also follow this model.

So short, stubby wings: think jet fighter, and large, long wings think bombers. Evolution is warfare, and the right equipment in the right situation is victorious.

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#Evolution of #Flight by #Chiroptera (aka #Bats)

Big-eared-townsend-fledermaus

This is some of the research that contributed to the recently released Darwin’s Paradox: An international science mysteryhttp://amzn.to/2k8qJgi. Bats have a major role in this books, also the people who try to protect them when they become a target of fearful people during the pandemic.

An important principle of evolution is that evolution does not plan. There is no such thing as a species evolving in a direction that is not superior to the status quo just to be better prepared for some eventual benefit later.

This is important when thinking about flight, or any evolutionary change that makes use of several systems (such as the skeletal system, cardiovascular system, and the respiratory system), or which requires significant anatomical modifications. Both of these are true for flight.

1024px-Darwin's_finches_by_Gould

While speciation, based on size and color (canis and felis) or beaks (Darwin’s finches), can be understood by a few, small genetic changes, the evolution of flight is more complex. However, in spite of the complexity, flight has evolved at least four independent times: insects, pterosaurs, bats, and birds.

Homology

Flight requires both the development of wings and changes to cardiorespiratory systems to support the short-term effort required for aerial takeoff.

Now, from the no planning principle, we know that in the millennia before flight is achieved, the intermediate changes must be an improvement at every step of the way. In the case of flight, there are two major theories for an evolutionary path to flight.

Domestic_Pigeon_Flock

The first path to flight (ground up) assumes an animal that lives on the ground and evolves to run faster building up their cadriorespiratory endurance and uses their hands to catch prey expanding the area of their hands. Over time this animal benefits from hopping and gliding and finally true flight. This seems to be a good theory for birds.

Quetzalcoatlus07

The second path to flight (height down) assumes an arboreal animal that lives in the trees and first jumps down on prey, and eventually glides, and finally develops true flight. This seems to be a good theory for pterosaurs.

In the case of chiroptera (bats), it could have gone either way. There are bats that run along the ground suggesting ground up and those that climb trees suggesting height down.

In either case, bats have successfully populated all continents except Antarctica. They represent 20% of all mammal species, second only to rodents.

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Categories: Bats | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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