Bats Flying

Baby bats prepared for landing according to articles in Inside JEB 16 October 2019 and Journal of Experimental Biology 15 October 2019 doi:10.1242/jeb.209163.

Echolocating bats use their sonar to help them land, as well as to navigate when our foraging for food. When bats are coming in to land they emit a rapid burst of sounds known as landing buzzes. Heather Mayberry of University of Toronto, Canada, and two colleagues studied baby big brown bats (Eptesicus fuscus) from birth to 32 days old to see how they develop their ability to produce echolocating sounds and compared it to when they were able to fly.

Baby bats are unable to fly when they are born. They need to grow in overall size, and their wings need to grow faster so that their body weight to wing size ratio reaches adult proportions. The researchers studied their flight development by holding baby bats in their hands and letting them fall onto a soft sponge, and at the same time record any sounds they made. Initially the baby bats made no attempt to control the fall, but at 5-6 days they began to flap their wings, and by 16-17 days were able to propel themselves forward with their wings. By 24 days they had full control of their wings, and by 32 days had achieved powered flight. Mayberry’s team described this development as going from flopping to flapping to fluttering to flight.

As bats use echolocation as their flight guidance system, the research team recorded when baby bats began making sounds. By 5-6 days they commenced making sounds called sonar strobe groups, which showed they are alert to sounds bouncing back from their environment. Around 17 days, well before they achieved adult style powered flight, the bats began producing landing buzzes. The ‘Inside JEB’ article summarised the findings: “So, bat pups start getting to grips with echolocation long before they have need of their acoustic guidance systems.”

Inside JEB

Editorial Comment: Can’t they see it? Any flying creature needs to be fully equipped for landing before it takes off. Once in the air it is too late to start. Without the right landing proceedure it soon becomes just another loser in Darwin’s evolutionary “struggle for life”. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that bats can produce and interpret landing buzzes before they take up flying. Therefore it is no surprise to us that landing buzzes develop before body proportions and wing strength enable it to fly.

These research results show again how much forward planning is required to create any kind of creature. Producing the landing buzzes also requires the right voice box and hearing, but the bat can only make use of them if it can interpret them. This means the information had to be already implanted into its brain as soon as they began producing the sounds. Again, we repeat forward planning and information are properties of creative design, not random processes. God created bats as fully functional flying creatures, and there is no evidence in the living world or the beautifully preserved fossil record of bats that they have ever been anything else but fully equipped bats.

Evidence News vol. 19, No. 18
27 November 2019
Creation Research Australia