Sunday, November 2, 2008

Bats in concert

Vampire bats may not be attractive, but roost mates make beautiful music.

From childhood, we know that bats make sounds, and that we can't hear most of them. But the human ear can hear these chirps, which scientists believe permit them to easily reunite when out of view. One scientist thinks each call might communicate the individual's identity, location and feelings. How cool!?

Plus, it turns out they are altruistic regarding sharing food... I mean, blood. Says one scientist, "In the wild, successful vampire bats sometimes share blood with their unsuccessful roost-mates. Such unselfish behavior is rare in animals and the current study intimates that reciprocal altruism among unrelated individuals may be mediated, in part, through vocal identification of individual roost mates." How's that for bat egalitarianism?

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