By William Wimsatt (Eds.)
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Extra resources for Biology of Bats
Caves are a stable habitat, shielded from some of the natural forces that influ ence life in less protected environs. At present we can only speculate about the long-time effects of cave occupation by bats. Perhaps certain mutagenic factors such as cosmic rays may have unusual relationships to the evolution of cave bats. Very little is known (or agreed to), how ever, about maximum natural rates of evolution (Smith, 1968) or about the relationships of "observed" rates in phenotypes and the theoretical rates at the molecular level.
This consideration may suggest that birds were a controlling factor in the escape of insects to nocturnalism which, in turn, attracted the primor dial bats to night-feeding. This comment grossly simplifies the probable complexities of the processes, but it suggests, however tenuously, that birds evolved earlier than bats did and that insectivorous bats were antecedent to fruit bats. Insects have acquired various kinds of volitional and autonomic behavioral systems that act as bat-evading (escape) mechanisms, and the development of such structures as scales by insects may also be partly a function of the predator-prey relationship.
It probably had a long and clawed index finger as well as teeth with pointed cusps, but the poor preservation of part Fig. 13. Η Ic Index claw bone (terminal phalange) of second digit of right manus. 34χ. humerus index claw bone (ungual or third phalange of second digit) Pn perforation S2 second (middle) phalange of second digit U ulna Fig. 13. 1. BAT ORIGINS AND EVOLUTION 39 40 GLENN L . JEPSEN of the incomplete skeleton has precluded rigorous study of dental and other details. The specific name referred to the nomenclator's belief that the specimen was intermediate between the megachiropts and the microchiropts, but most taxonomists now prefer to regard it as a megabat.