This image shows a bat catching prey. Scientists hung up the worm for the bat (scientifically known as Myotis nattereri) to find, so that they could study the acoustic properties of the technique behind echolocation – a biological sonar for hunting – in bats in the wild. The same studies were conducted on whales, as both of these species have developed the ability to use echolocation.
Researchers from Aarhus University and University of Southern Denmark have shown that the biosonar of toothed whales and bats share surprisingly many similarities – even though they live in very different environments and vary extremely in size.
The answer lies in convergent evolution – when almost identical features or developments happen in different species. Through evolution both bats and toothed whales have developed the same functional characteristics.
Image credit: Lasse Jakobsen/SDU