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article imageA giant walking bat used to roam rainforest floors

By Owen Weldon     Jun 20, 2015 in Odd News
Millions of years ago, there was a giant bat that used all of its limbs to walk around the subtropical rainforest of what is now New Zealand.
The study revealed that the bat used to roam the rainforest about 16 million years ago. The bat, which is a newly discovered species, is about three times heavier than modern day bats. The bat (Mystacina miocenalis) is related to Mystacina tuberculata, which is a bat that can still be found in the old growth forests of New Zealand.
The remains of the bat were found near Central Otago. The remains were discovered in sediment left over from Lake Manuherikia, which was a prehistoric body of water.
The lead author of the study, Suzanne Hand, said this discovery shows that Mystacina bats have been present in the country for upwards of 16 million years.
Over the years, paleontologists have discovered the country's oldest lizards, land birds, frogs and its only crocodiles at Lake Manuherikia.
Hand said bats are important pollinators and seed dispersers, and they keep forests healthy. She added that understanding the connectivity between bat faunas of different landmasses was important because it helps to evaluate biosecurity and conservation priorities for island ecosystems that are fragile.
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