Oldest Bat Fossil

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Oldest bat fossil found, according to reports in BBC News, 13 February 2008, ABC News in Science and Nature, vol. 451, p818, 14 Feb 2008. A team of palaeontologists led by Nancy Simmons of the American Museum of Natural History have examined a fossil bat from the Green River Formation in Wyoming USA dated as being 53.5 million years old. This makes it the oldest fossil bat ever found. The fossil has been named Onychonycteris finneyi, meaning “clawed bat” and is classified as a new genus and species because it is larger, has slightly different limb proportions to other bats, has claws on its wings and a broad tail. According to Kevin Seymour of Royal Ontario Museum, Canada, who took part in the study “its teeth seem to show that it was an insect eater.” The scientists suggested it did not use echo-location for finding food, unlike living insect eating bats. Measurements of the base of its skull indicate that it had a small cochlea (inner ear) similar to living non-echolocating bats, such as fruit bats, which use smell and vision to find food.

ABC, BBC

Editorial Comment: In spite of the small differences between this fossil bat and other bats, no-one disputes that it is a fully formed flying bat. Therefore, at the risk of sounding repetitive, no matter how old scientists believe this fossil bat to be, it is evidence that bats have not evolved from the time they were first preserved in the rocks. They only show evidence of having been fully formed animals that have reproduced after their kind, just as Genesis says. (Ref. fossilisation, chiropterans, echolocation)

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