The Nest

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Prehistoric Bats
Bat Fossils
Other Animals
Further Research

About Prehistoric Bats

Our understanding of the evolution of bats is based upon evidence provided by fossils. Because of their small, fragile skeletons bats do not preserve well and complete fossils are quite rare. At present the oldest complete bat fossils are approximately 55 million years old though it is felt that bats themselves evolved some considerable time before that. When and in what order bats developed the ability to fly and to echolocate is not precisely known and is the area of active, ongoing debate. The discovery of new fossil bats could considerably alter our understanding of how these amazing creatures flourished.

Dr Brock Fenton, Professor & Chair,
Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, received his Ph.D. in 1969 for work in the ecology and behaviour of bats. Since then he has held academic positions at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada 1969 to 1986), York University (Toronto, Canada 1986 to 2003) and the University of Western Ontario (2003 to present). He has published about 200 papers in refereed journals (most of them about bats), as well as numerous non-technical contributions. He has written three books about bats intended for a general audience (Just Bats 1983, University of Toronto Press; Bats 1992 - revised edition 2001 Facts On File Inc; and The Bat: Wings in the Night Sky 1998, Key Porter Press). Today he continues his research on the ecology and behaviour of bats, with special emphasis on echolocation.

For more information visit his website


Dr Brock Fenton discusses prehistoric bats...

Part 1 - Bats and their evolution.
Part 2 - The ancestors of bats.
Part 3 - Development of powered flight in bats.
Part 4 - Echolocation and its evolution in bats.
Part 5 - Developing the skills to survive.

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