Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Bats in the news

There have been some interesting recent studies on bats. First, that new bat species with the incredibly long tongue that I reported about from NASBR got an article in Nature - way to go, Nathan! Another talk that I heard at NASBR resulted in a paper in a prestigious journal. This study showed that bats change their echolocation frequency upward to avoid interference from other bat calls. Finally, some scientists discovered that big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) use magnetic fields to help them orient themselves. When that ability to sense the earth's magnetic fields was altered, the bats were not able to find their way home. The article doesn't say if they later found the bats and restored their magnetic super powers, but I certainly hope they did. This also got a Nature article. As for me, I'll be spending the holiday break at home, studying for the GRE and working on my thesis. We're having a real cold spell right now, so the bats are probably sleeping it off... I know that I'm really reluctant to go out there to find out.


Blogger trillwing said...

On NPR they reported, if I recall correctly, that the bats reoriented themselves after a certain amount of time--maybe 30 or 45 minutes? I imagine they had a heckuva time following them. You can check out the story yourself here: Testing Bat Senses.

6:15 PM  

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