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It’s no wonder people wonder whether bats are related to rodents. After all, we often refer to them as rodents with wings. The fact that they have small, rodent-sized bodies adds to the curiosity. But is that really the case, or are bats more than that?
Bats are some of the most unique creatures out there. They’re the only mammal that flies. They’re one of the only animals to use echolocation. They can even live up to thirty years out in nature.
In fact, these creatures are so unique that scientists have given them their own order!
An entire classification of mammals is dedicated to all the bats in the world. Chiropteran is the scientific name for this group.
You might think that it’s odd to create an entirely new order for bats, but it makes perfect sense when you realize just how many bat species there are in the world. This may come as a complete surprise, but there are actually over a thousand unique species of bats found all over the globe!
There are so many bats out there, that they actually make up a fourth of all mammal species! So it’s no wonder bats get their own order.
But how does the order Chiroptera relate to all the rodents out there? It actually doesn’t. In fact, rodents have their own order, and it’s called Rodentia. This order contains more animal species than any other order of mammals. In fact, if you combine them with bats, you’d have more than half the mammal species found in the world!
Despite countless years of effort, scientists still aren’t sure about the bat’s origins or who they’re closely related to. This stems from the fact that bats have small, delicate bones, and these make for poor fossils.
As a result, scientists aren’t able to track bats to ancient times in as much detail as
they’d like. The good news is that the evidence they do have points to some very interesting facts.
The group that bats are most closely related to isn’t Rodentia, but is actually a superorder that’s made up of whales and dolphins! That may seem a little odd, but starts to make sense when you realize that whales and dolphins are known to use echolocation just like the bat!
What’s more interesting, however, is that bats also have a close relation to primates. That means bats are more closely related to chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, monkeys, and even humans than to the rodents they appear to resemble!
Yet there isn’t much evidence for their relation with primates, and that’s just one of science’s old hypotheses.
It’s safe to say that they really aren’t. Each of these has their own unique order, filled with thousands of different species. In fact, bats are more closely related to whales and primates than they are to rodents. Yet at the end of the day, both these groups are mammals, but that’s the extent of their relation.