Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Microchiroptera

Suborder of the mammalian order Chiroptera comprised of approximately 17 families, 150 genera, and 810 species of bat. Microchiropterans are small (body mass 2-170 g, with most under 50 g) and over 70% of species are insectivorous; they conserve energy by estivation. They use echolocation for obstacle avoidance in darkened caves and for locating prey during nocturnal foraging; 40% of the brain is devoted to the auditory regions. Although they are more derived than their sister taxon Megachiroptera, microchiropterans appear earlier in the fossil record (c. 50 mya) and some Paleocene fossil bats have been mistaken for basal primates. Because bats are closely related to the Dermoptera, and both are related to the Primates, all three orders are grouped in the grandorder Archonta. Aka insectivorous bat, microbat.

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