Chiroptophobia is the fear of bats, but even though they look frightening there is really no rational reason to be afraid of these winged mammals. There are probably well over 1,000 species of bats in the world, only three of which feed on blood. (All of these blood suckers live in Latin America.) Moreover, relatively few wild bats harbor rabies, probably less than 0.5 percent.
But bats are a cause for concern if you happen to be an evolutionary biologist—so are toothed whales. The multiple, independent origin of echolocation in these animals (twice in bats and once in toothed whales) exemplifies convergence, a phenomenon that describes instances in which unrelated organisms possess nearly identical anatomical and physiological characteristics. When examined from an evolutionary perspective, convergence doesn’t make much sense.
If this wasn’t scary enough, the latest research demonstrates that—again, from an evolutionary perspective—the genetic and biochemical changes that account for the emergence of echolocation in bats and dolphins is identical.1 Given the random nature of the evolutionary process, this recent discovery doesn’t match what evolutionary biologists would expect to find. But both the discovery and convergence make sense if life stems from the work of a Creator.
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