Saturday, 15 September 2012

4 Freaky New Bat Species Discovered

Researchers have identified four new species of horseshoe bats with large, strangely shaped noses in eastern Africa.

Scientists had thought all four belonged to a single species, Hildebrandt's horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hildebrandtii), first described in 1878. But reports of different echolocation frequencies recorded among the bats suggested there might be rifts in the species. (Sonar calls are often used to identify different types of bats.)

Researchers led by Peter J. Taylor, of South Africa's University of Venda, found R.hildebrandtii indeed included four cryptic species with subtle differences in their sonar calls, skull shape and DNA. Cryptic species often cannot be distinguished by their physical features, putting the burden on genetics research to identify new creatures.

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