When Bats Took Flight

  • Published: 12 September 2019
  • Bats pretty much appear in the fossil record as recognizable, full-on, flying bats. And they show up on all of the continents, except Antarctica, around the same time. So where did bats come from? And which of the many weird features that bats have, showed up first?

    Thanks to Ceri Thomas for the early bat illustrations! Check out more of Ceri's paleoart at alphynix.tumblr.com

    Produced in collaboration with PBS Digital Studios: cepnet.mobi/user/pbsdigitalstudios

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    References: docs.google.com/document/d/1VPccWSNkODzBifBt4R-RI8nApVRKe5pSfG8qeouiZqE/edit?usp=sharing
  • Science and Technology Science and Technology

Comments • 1 300

  • Lumberjack king the great

    Seals and bats are related to bears

    • Ramna Viaz
      Ramna Viaz  5 days back

      So batman is actually whaleman?

      • differous01
        differous01  5 days back

        Lacewings had been around since the Jurassic, and the nocturnal Green Lacewing, with its echolocation evasion system, evolved in the early Eocene (c50millon yrs ago). Something must have been hunting them. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308952785_Cenozoic_climates_and_the_evolution_of_green_lacewings_Neuroptera_Chrysopidae

        • Alpha Night Fury
          Alpha Night Fury  5 days back

          Can y'all agree on how terrefying bats' skeletons are.

          • Zimrian Zimrian
            Zimrian Zimrian  5 days back


            • 1joshjosh1
              1joshjosh1  5 days back

              "I like bats"
              Vicki Vale

              • Rusty Nails
                Rusty Nails  5 days back

                Why does Batman not have "echo location"???

                • joel chan
                  joel chan  6 days back

                  But some bats don't echolocate

                  • Lexo Cee
                    Lexo Cee  6 days back

                    Scrotifera, lol

                    • Shamir George
                      Shamir George  6 days back

                      The answer is simple. Bats obviously developed echo-location and flight simultaneously. Aha! I be you didn't think of that! They developed it at the same time. Bats, which were previously gopher like criters, first started jumping to catch insects. They could gradually jump further and further, and hear the insects close by. And gradually the gopher like criters that could hear and glide the furthust only survived. This evenentually became powered flight AND sonar AT THE SAME TIME! I'm a genius!

                      • ThaC00l Kid
                        ThaC00l Kid  6 days back

                        Fingerboy from sam 'o nella academy Xd

                        • Koda Buck
                          Koda Buck  7 days back

                          Wait what if bat ancestors weren't nocturnal and hunted insects in the day too than they could see the insects whil gliding than as there wings developed and they got better at flying they slowly terned nocturnal to protect themselves from predators like birds? I'm not sure how plosible it is or if it makes sense, but an idea

                          • William Overton
                            William Overton  1 weeks back

                            I think they lived underground and developed flight to travel between burrows.

                            • JSTV Fish Cutting
                              JSTV Fish Cutting  1 weeks back

                              I think you want want to explain regarding an ancient Bats body construction and brief about giant platypuses. thanks for sharing.🐟🐟🐠🐠🦈🐬🔔🔔🔔

                              • zomby GI
                                zomby GI  1 weeks back

                                Bats exist because there must always be a batman!

                                • HOTLILPAPI
                                  HOTLILPAPI  1 weeks back

                                  thank GOD bats cant fly anymore

                                  • Mariah
                                    Mariah  2 weeks back

                                    I've said for years flying foxes faces and my dog's face ate a dead match. It's freaky. But it does only make me love the fuzzy fliers more.

                                    • Bob Langford
                                      Bob Langford  2 weeks back

                                      Nice video, but you forgot to explain how a bat evolved into a Batman!?

                                      • Arlo Stocker
                                        Arlo Stocker  2 weeks back

                                        why cant gliders have had specialised sense

                                        • Tentacular
                                          Tentacular  2 weeks back

                                          Maybe the first bats weren't nocturnal, so didn't need echolocation to see prey in daylight? I'm fairly sure that no birds have echolocation...

                                          • VEEJAYBAGO RAGEGAMER
                                            VEEJAYBAGO RAGEGAMER  3 weeks back

                                            What if fruit bat related to us and
                                            Bat where relative of horse

                                            • BroliYTwins
                                              BroliYTwins  4 weeks back

                                              Well in French bats are called chauve souris that can be translated as bald mouse, so for me it always appeared that Bats evolved from a Tree rodent that looked like a Mouse or a Rat. Tho it would have been bonkers to have the bats related to us.

                                              • Joe O Sullivan
                                                Joe O Sullivan  4 weeks back

                                                I thought this was going to be a video about baseball players with sweaty hands. Kind of disappointed...

                                                • KERO F
                                                  KERO F  4 weeks back

                                                  still waiting for your videos on pornhub

                                                  • Allan Molina
                                                    Allan Molina  1 months back

                                                    I am Batman

                                                    • ksiit117
                                                      ksiit117  1 months back

                                                      Doesn’t seem like the best science education to ask us which method we support when we have had a 10 minute introduction to the topic rather than from reading the scientific literature regarding it. I mean science doesn’t care about our opinion and just because the first explanation seemed to make the most sense to me doesn’t mean it happened that way. Especially relating to evolution where we keep figuring out that things are weird and surprising.

                                                      • Sidhan Singh
                                                        Sidhan Singh  1 months back

                                                        Why don't we ask batman. ..may be he knows more about bats than us

                                                        • Mickle Pickle078
                                                          Mickle Pickle078  1 months back

                                                          It does make sense that bats come from the group laurasiatheria. If u think about it and look at the bone structure of the bat and whale, they kinda look similar

                                                          • Light Shocker
                                                            Light Shocker  1 months back

                                                            what if the whales ancestor was able to fly
                                                            and also dolphins are able to echolocation and both dolphins and whales are closely related then that explains why they are closely related.

                                                            • edward
                                                              edward  1 months back

                                                              Love the tattoo.

                                                              • Moe
                                                                Moe  1 months back

                                                                Bats begins

                                                                • TYTO
                                                                  TYTO  1 months back

                                                                  I just want to say that the fossil specimen at 3:48 is genuinely amazing... I cant get over how well preserved it is. 😮

                                                                  • Metaphysics
                                                                    Metaphysics  1 months back

                                                                    Batman nanananananananananna

                                                                    • legendary petz
                                                                      legendary petz  1 months back

                                                                      In DOMINICAN REP U CAN FIND ALL OF THE BATS

                                                                      • Jacob Staten
                                                                        Jacob Staten  1 months back

                                                                        New topic idea; is it possible for two separate species to reach enough genetic similarities to be able. To reproduce and form a new species (not mules)?
                                                                        I want bat men.

                                                                        • xxWingedGachaxx
                                                                          xxWingedGachaxx  1 months back

                                                                          What's up with the names? They be like tongue twisters

                                                                          • Kyle Adrien
                                                                            Kyle Adrien  1 months back

                                                                            Prehistoric animals are incredible to think about. Imagine if some of these were still around

                                                                            • Neek'lahs
                                                                              Neek'lahs  1 months back

                                                                              Maybe they develop both skills and then over time some species lose echolocation depending on their lifestyle.

                                                                              • Michael Maddox
                                                                                Michael Maddox  1 months back

                                                                                Flight had to be first as a way to escape predators. Later they became nocturnal. Why? Because they are smaller than most birds of prey and probably found it hard to compete so... they became nocturnal and developed echo location to become more efficient at hunting at night. This is my theory despite the word usage that express facts. Lol

                                                                                • Piarou
                                                                                  Piarou  1 months back

                                                                                  Wow. Now I have watched all episodes up to this one, and this is the very first time a still-living animal was mentioned that I didn't know of. Colugo?? WTF. How have you escaped my attention, little flying fake-lemur?

                                                                                  Thanks, PBS. I have learned so much, as usual. :D <3

                                                                                  • Falckie Falcon
                                                                                    Falckie Falcon  2 months back

                                                                                    Ever since I read darkwing from the silverwing series I've always been interested in how bats evolved

                                                                                    • Anna Noble
                                                                                      Anna Noble  2 months back

                                                                                      I have heard rumors (so take this with a grain of salt) of a late Cretaceous tooth from Argentina that resembles that of a bat's, so perhaps the molecular clock studies are not far off!

                                                                                      • D2attemp
                                                                                        D2attemp  2 months back

                                                                                        Anyone read Kenneth Oppel’s book Darkwing

                                                                                        • Jamie Bond
                                                                                          Jamie Bond  2 months back

                                                                                          Why do fossils get Latin names??

                                                                                          • TiagoTiago
                                                                                            TiagoTiago  2 months back

                                                                                            Wasn't there something about fruitbats not being related to the other bats, and just looking similar because of convergent evolution?

                                                                                            • TiagoTiago
                                                                                              TiagoTiago  2 months back

                                                                                              How can they know the ancient bats were nocturnal?

                                                                                              • Jackie Santos
                                                                                                Jackie Santos  2 months back

                                                                                                Interesting but that's related to rats well yeah Troy's sub specie tired well probably not they know bats are related to whales

                                                                                                • Ican FeeLIt
                                                                                                  Ican FeeLIt  2 months back

                                                                                                  what if they came from the same rat that became dolphins