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Migrating squid drove evolution of sonar in whales and dolphins, researchers argue
Date:9/5/2007

id. Whales also partition the water column, specializing in harvesting squid at specific depths, just as bats partition the tree canopy and preferentially hunt insects at specific heights.

Lindberg noted that whales and bats are strong examples of convergent evolution to take advantage of unexploited food resources: nocturnal insects, in the case of non-migrating insectivorous bats, and nocturnal cephalopods, in the case of whales. And just as predominately migrating fruit bats do not echolocate, so filter-feeding baleen whales that depend on dense seasonal resources lack biosonar.

Lindberg and Pyenson used existing data on whales and cephalopods to reach their conclusions, drawing upon aspects of tectonics, paleontology, physiology, ecology, anatomy and biophysics. In the same way, "thinking from an evolutionary perspective about existing data from biology, paleontology and ecology could answer questions about the origin of echolocation in bats, shrews and other animals," Lindberg said.


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Contact: Robert Sanders
rsanders@berkeley.edu
510-643-6998
University of California - Berkeley
Source:Eurekalert

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