Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Megachiroptera

Monotypic suborder of the mammalian order Chiroptera (bats) consisting of the family Pteropodidae with approximately 42 genera and 169 species; flying foxes, also referred to as fruit bats; confined to the Old World and the islands of the Pacific. These bats are larger than the smaller microchiropterans. Flying foxes are of interest to paleoprimatologists for several reasons. First, there appears to be a strong phylogenetic relationship between all bats and primates; Paleocene chiropterans have been mistaken for basal primates, indicating the close evolutionary relationship. Second, it has been proposed that the Megachiroptera may be convergent with microchiropterans and that flying foxes are descended from an early group of primates.

See Flying Primate Hypothesis.

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