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Palaeontology

Giant extinct bat unearthed in New Zealand

By T.K. Randall
January 11, 2018 · Comment icon 4 comments

Southern short-tailed bats also hunt on the forest floor. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0 Jake Osborne
The giant burrowing bat not only flew, but also scurried around on the forest floor looking for food.
Discovered by an international team of researchers led by the University of New South Wales, the fossilized remains of this prehistoric winged mammal date back up to 19 million years.

Scientists have named the new species Vulcanops jennyworthyae - a reference to Vulcan, the Roman god of fire and volcanoes, as well as to Jenny Worthy, the team member who discovered the fossils.

Burrowing bats are unusual because, unlike most bats, they prefer to scurry around on all-fours and forage for food under leaf litter and along tree branches.
"Burrowing bats are more closely related to bats living in South America than to others in the southwest Pacific," said study author Professor Sue Hand.

"They are related to vampire bats, ghost-faced bats, fishing and frog-eating bats, and nectar-feeding bats, and belong to a bat superfamily that once spanned the southern landmasses of Australia, New Zealand, South America and possibly Antarctica."



Source: Phys.org | Comments (4)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by pallidin 6 years ago
Bats, for all their helpfulness, yet scares me.
Comment icon #2 Posted by Sundew 6 years ago
I'd worry more about the potential diseases they can carry, from Rabies to Ebola. Still, Flying Foxes are rather cute as animals go.   
Comment icon #3 Posted by Brok 6 years ago
These are some of the most messed up "foxes" I've seen...
Comment icon #4 Posted by Vilasarius 6 years ago
I think that to see a bat 3 times larger that today's bats scurry towards you on all fours would be quite terrifying.


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