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Giant extinct bat burrowing bat fossil discovered in New Zealand

An artist’s impression of a New Zealand burrowing bat, Mystacina robusta, which are extinct in the previous century. The new fossil find, Vulcanops jennyworthyae, who lived millions of years ago in New Zealand, is an ancient relative of the burrowing of short-tailed bats. (CREDIT: Illustration by Gavin Mouldey.)

Fossil remains of a giant burrowing bat, which lived in New Zealand between 16 and 19 million years ago, found, wonderful, an international team of scientists.

Teeth and bones of the extinct flying furry were found in sediments in the vicinity of the stage instead of the St. Bathans, according to EurekaAlert.org. The fossils were restored by a team under the leadership of UNSW in Sydney scientists, including the study of the first author, UNSW Professor Sue Hand.

The research, which was carried out by researchers not only from New Zealand but also in Australia, the united kingdom and the united states and is published in Scientific Reports.

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“This bat was relatively large, with an estimated body weight of approximately 40 [grams], and its dentition suggests it was an omnivore diet,” the study abstract reads. “The striking dental autapomorphies, including the development of a large hypocone, signal a shift of power in comparison with other mystacinids, and may provide evidence of an adaptive radiation in feeding strategy in this group of noctilionoid bats.”

The study also stated that the “the first new bat-sex to be added to the New Zealand fauna in more than 150 years.” It is the name Vulcanops jennyworthyae, after a member of the team Jenny Worthy that found the fossils.

Burrowing bats used to live in Austrlia but now only in New Zealand; they are particularly interestd because they can fly, as well as walk on all his limbs along the soil of the forest.

“Burrowing bats are more closely related to bats living in South America than others in the southwest of the Pacific ocean,” says Hand, according to Eureka Alert. “They are in connection with vampire bats, ghost-faced bats, fish and frog-eating bats and nectar-eating bats, and belong to a bat suborder, which ever of the southern landmasses of New Zealand, Australia, South America and possibly Antarctica.”

Hand also noted that because of the way Vulcanop teeth are formed, the may also eat small vertebrate animals.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia

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