How did the bat skeleton evolve? © Getty Images

How did the bat skeleton evolve?

There is a lot of debate about the evolution of various bat skeletons as the oldest fossils don't look too dissimilar to modern bats.

Asked by: TG Dollin, Dundee

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Bats have very thin delicate skeletons that do not fossilise well. The oldest known fossils date from around 52 million years ago and are already very similar to modern bats. Bat wings have evolved from progressively elongated fingers, so bats are effectively flapping their hands. There is still a lot of debate surrounding the relationship between the various bat groups and it is possible that flight evolved separately more than once.


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