Biomechanics: independent evolution of running in vampire bats

Nature. 2005 Mar 17;434(7031):292. doi: 10.1038/434292a.

Abstract

Most tetrapods have retained terrestrial locomotion since it evolved in the Palaeozoic era, but bats have become so specialized for flight that they have almost lost the ability to manoeuvre on land at all. Vampire bats, which sneak up on their prey along the ground, are an important exception. Here we show that common vampire bats can also run by using a unique bounding gait, in which the forelimbs instead of the hindlimbs are recruited for force production as the wings are much more powerful than the legs. This ability to run seems to have evolved independently within the bat lineage.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Chiroptera / anatomy & histology
  • Chiroptera / physiology*
  • Gait / physiology
  • Male
  • Running / physiology*
  • Walking / physiology