It is very difficult to location remains of bat fossils. This is due to the fact that they are so light boned.
However, what we have found has offered us some insight as to how long they have been around. The earliest fossil
remains of the bat date back more than 52 million years. They were found in 2003 in Wyoming, United States.
Based on the physical appearance of early bat fossils, they have always been able to fly. There used to be
several theories that they were once land animals. Then through evolution they were able to change their limbs for
webbed wings. However, there is no evidence from those fossil findings to indicate any such changes ever occurred
for the bat.
What is different from bats as we know them today and these early species though is the way in which they were
able to successfully fly. Early fossils show that their limbs featured five claws on each limb. Today most species
feature two claws on their limbs. They hind legs on these fossil remains show that they were once much longer than
they are on the species today. Ironically, the front limbs were shorter than but are longer today.
This change lends credibility to the fact that through bat evolution the balance for those limbs was able to be
worked out. Yet it is still a mystery why the rear limbs got shorter and the front ones longer. Perhaps it was to
help them gain more speed and control during flight?
The shorter wings on the fossil remains definitely tells us that the early bats couldn’t fly as quickly as they
can today. That is an evolution process that is also credited with helping them to be able to survive with their
changing environment. It is also believed that they didn’t fly nearly as frequently millions of years ago as they
One of the significant forms of evolution for the bat though comes with the way in which it communications. They
use echolocation but the inner ear that makes it possible to do so is lacking in these early fossils. Therefore it
is reasonable to state that this is a method of survival that evolved and developed over time in order for the bats
to be able to have the best opportunity for survival.
The fact that the bat female can delay the interaction of the sperm from the male to her eggs could be part of
the evolution process for these animals. It is possible in some species for mating to occur in the spring. However,
the female prevents the sperm from meeting the eggs until the fall. This gives her young the best possible chance
of survival and that is what the evolution process is all about.
With more than 1,200 different identified species of bats, there is a great deal of information we don’t have
when it comes to the process of evolution for them. It is believed that they all have a common ancestor but what
that is we haven’t yet identified. It is also believed the various species branched off due to location, feeding
habits, and habitat. All of which has helped them with their ability to survive.
Based on some of the fossil remains of the bat found both in 2004 and 2008, there have been species of the bat
that have become extinct. What happened to them and why they weren’t able to thrive is another mystery. There is
certainly many things to continue exploring in this department. Many experts are hopeful that as more bat fossil
remains are discovered they can get some quality answers.