Scientists have described a brand new species of prehistoric bat primarily based on the oldest bat fossils ever found. The brand new bat species has been named Icaronycteris gunnelli and it flew within the skies above Wyoming roughly 52 million years in the past.
The examine describing these exceptional fossil finds was revealed earlier this summer time within the educational journal PLOS One.
The authors on the American Museum of Pure Historical past (New York) in collaboration with the Naturalis Biodiversity Centre within the Netherlands, hypothesise that bats diversified quickly in the course of the early Cenozoic.
There are greater than 1,460 extant species of bats present in almost each a part of the world, except the polar areas and some remoted islands. These fossils from the Inexperienced River Formation of Wyoming counsel that these mammals had been geographically widespread by the early Eocene.
Bat fossils had been present in these strata during the last sixty years or so. Nonetheless, they had been all thought to characterize the identical two taxa. The 2 fossil bat taxa which were described beforehand from the Inexperienced River Formation are Icaronycteris index (Jepsen, 1966) and Onychonycteris finneyi (Simmons et al, 2008).
Scientists from the Naturalis Biodiversity Middle began trying carefully at Icaronycteris index by accumulating measurements and different knowledge from museum specimens. This extra detailed examine they suspected, would result in new taxa being recognized.
Though there are fossil bat tooth from Asia which are barely older, the 2 I. gunnelli fossils characterize the oldest bat skeletons ever discovered.
Arvid Aase, park supervisor and curator on the Fossil Butte Nationwide Monument, in Wyoming commented;
“The Fossil Lake deposits of the Inexperienced River Formation are merely superb as a result of the circumstances that created the paper-thin limestone layers additionally preserved almost every little thing that settled to the lake’s backside. One in every of these bat specimens was discovered decrease within the part than all different bats, making this species older than any of the opposite bat species recovered from this residue.”
Whereas the I. gunnelli skeletons are the oldest bat fossils from this website, they aren’t probably the most primitive, supporting the concept Inexperienced River bats advanced individually from different Eocene bats around the globe.
Every part Dinosaur acknowledges the help of a media launch from the American Museum of Pure Historical past within the compilation of this text.
The scientific paper: “The oldest identified bat skeletons and their implications for Eocene chiropteran diversification” by Tim B. Rietbergen, Lars W. van den Hoek Ostende, Arvid Aase, Matthew F. Jones, Edward D. Medeiros and Nancy B. Simmons revealed in PLOS One.
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