Monday, August 07, 2006

Flying monkeys

Darren Naish from Tetrapod Zoology discusses whether bats are primates. Unfortunately, the evidence for macro-bats and primates being part of a single clade is slim and unconvincing. But We flightless primates reveals that the latest DNA evidence suggests that bats aren't a single clade (a group of animals related by direct descent): apparently neither the micro-bats nor the macro-bats are monophyletic.

More surprisingly, the evidence suggests that the common ancestor of both primates and at least some bats was likely to have been able to fly. This suggests that primates have evolved from flying mammals:

[...] in other words that primates are secondarily flightless. That’s right: you and me, and other apes, and lemurs, tarsiers and monkeys all descend from flying, winged proto-primates.

We're flightless bats! (Not quite, and by not quite I mean not at all. But it sounds cool.)

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