Hear, hear: the convergent evolution of echolocation in bats?

Trends Ecol Evol. 2009 Jul;24(7):351-4. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2009.02.012. Epub 2009 May 29.


The evolutionary history of laryngeal echolocation is controversial, and little is known about the molecular mechanisms that underlie this sense. A recent paper by Li and colleagues is one of the first studies to identify and sequence a gene involved in echolocation in bats -Prestin, the so-called mammalian hearing gene. Phylogenetic analyses show evidence for positive selection acting on this gene in the echolocating lineages and support the convergent evolution of laryngeal echolocation in bats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Chiroptera / genetics*
  • Chiroptera / physiology*
  • Echolocation / physiology*
  • Hearing / genetics
  • Hearing / physiology
  • Vocalization, Animal / physiology