Fondren Science Series


Fossil bats give few clues to the early evolution of the Chiroptera. Adaptations for flight were well established by early Eocene, and osteological characters of Recent Chiroptera show only minor changes since the Eocene. Examination of the post-cranial skeleton reveals these important general features: (1) arch, anteroposterior compression and partial fusion of the vertebral column; (2) well developed pectoral girdle with large clavicles and a small keel present on the sternum; (3) secondary humeroscapular association; (4) modification of the forearm for flight with the ulna rudimentary and the metacarpals and phalanges elongated to spread the flight membranes; (5) weak hind limbs, incomplete fibula; and (6) well developed hind feet.

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