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Discovery Magazine 8/1/2016

Microbats' Amazing Built-in Abilities

Have you ever played the game Marco Polo? It’s a game of tag that is played in water, such as in a swimming pool. In this game, the person who is “it,” must keep his eyes closed (which makes for a very challenging game). The only way that he can detect where the other players are is by listening to see what sounds he hears, including the one word that the other players are allowed to say—“Polo.” Whenever the person who is “it” says “Marco,” all other players (who are above the water) must say, “Polo.” This one word, as well as whatever noises are made splashing in the water, are the only real clues that the “tagger” has to find the others. He can locate others only by the sounds they make.

Did you know that certain bats (most of which scientists call “microbats”) navigate through the air and hunt their prey using similar locating methods? But they don’t merely listen for their prey—they use what we call echolocation (EH-koh-low-KAY-shun).

Microbats are nocturnal (meaning they sleep during the day and hunt at night). God designed these amazing creatures with the ability to produce certain ultrasonic sounds that the bats use to navigate in flight and to locate their prey in the dark. Bats, such as Townsend’s big-eared bat, produce short, high-pitched sounds, and then immediately listen to the echo (the sound that bounces off of the objects and back to the bat). All of this action happens in only a fraction of a second and reveals to the bat exactly where an object is, as well as its size and shape. This bat’s echo-locating ability is so precise that it can successfully hunt flying insects as small as mosquitoes—plucking them right out of the air.

Can you see the foolishness of the General Theory of Evolution? How could an animal as remarkable as the microbat come into being without a brilliant Creator? If there was no intelligent Designer to give the first bat its ultrasonic sound-making abilities and its ultra-sensitive hearing (auditory) system, then how did the first bat ever get it? What, “It just evolved” this brilliant ability? How? The fact is, there is no reasonable answer to that question. In truth, bats drive evolutionary theory “batty.”

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*Please keep in mind that Discovery articles are written for 3rd-6th graders.

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