Bats that walk: a new evolutionary hypothesis for the terrestrial behaviour of New Zealand's endemic mystacinids

Hand, Suzanne J. and Weisbecker, Vera and Beck, Robin MD and Archer, Michael and Godthelp, Henk and Tennyson, Alan JD and Worthy, Trevor H. (2009) Bats that walk: a new evolutionary hypothesis for the terrestrial behaviour of New Zealand's endemic mystacinids. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 9 (1). p. 169. DOI 10.1186/1471-2148-9-169

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Abstract

New Zealand's lesser short-tailed bat Mystacina tuberculata is one of only two of c.1100 extant bat species to use a true walking gait when manoeuvring on the ground (the other being the American common vampire bat Desmodus rotundus). Mystacina tuberculata is also the last surviving member of Mystacinidae, the only mammalian family endemic to New Zealand (NZ) and a member of the Gondwanan bat superfamily Noctilionoidea. The capacity for true quadrupedal terrestrial locomotion in Mystacina is a secondarily derived condition, reflected in numerous skeletal and muscular specializations absent in other extant bats. The lack of ground-based predatory native NZ mammals has been assumed to have facilitated the evolution of terrestrial locomotion and the unique burrowing behaviour of Mystacina, just as flightlessness has arisen independently many times in island birds. New postcranial remains of an early Miocene mystacinid from continental Australia, Icarops aenae, offer an opportunity to test this hypothesis. PMID: 19615105

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 09AREP;
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
07 - Gold Open Access
Journal or Publication Title: BMC Evolutionary Biology
Volume: 9
Page Range: p. 169
Identification Number: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-169
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2014 18:19
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2014 18:19
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/3124

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