Big bat bang, reported in Science vol 307, p527 and p580, and BBC News, 28 Jan 2005. A team of scientists led by Emma Teeling of Laboratory of genomic diversity of the National Cancer Institute, USA have compared genes from living bats and constructed an evolutionary tree that linked all present day bats to a common ancestor around the Cretaceous-tertiary boundary. According to this model the early ancestral bats underwent a sudden diversification into four large groups of echolocating bats and one non-echolocating group in the Eocene period (50-52 million years). The scientists believe this sudden increase in the number of different genera of bats occurred because there was an increase in global temperature at this time which resulted in an abundance of insects for the echolocating bats to catch and eat.

In an article entitled “An Eocene Big Bang for Bats” Nancy Simmons writes: “As flying predators, capable of capturing prey on the wing, they would have few competitors for the rich resources of the Eocene night.” Teeling’s team estimated that 61% of the fossil record of bats is missing and that “the bat fossil record underestimates first occurrences by, on average, 73%.” The BBC article comments, “Ancestors linking bats to other mammal groups lived during the Palaeocene period which followed the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, none of their fossils have been discovered.”

Editorial Comment: Evolutionists often claim that changes in the environment led to the development of new kinds of living organisms. However, the development of new organisms requires new genes. The abundance of food is not actually going to change the genes of any non-flying, non-echolocating animals so they can suddenly accumulate all features necessary for flying and echolocating. This story is a good reminder that the creation/evolution debate is not about facts versus faith. It is about which faith, or world view, you use to interpret the facts.

The facts about bat fossils are that they appear in the fossil record as fully formed bats, with all the features seen in bats that are flying around today. Belief in missing ancestors and non-flying animals suddenly evolving into bats simply because there were lots of insects for them to eat, is an irrational faith because it is based on evidence that is not there. Genesis tells us that God made living things as separate fully functional creatures to multiply after their kinds. Genesis also explains why none of the “ancestors linking bats to other mammal groups” have been discovered. Belief in Genesis is rational because it explains the evidence that is there. (Ref. evolution, ecology, faith)