Bat Conservation International
Bat fossils after the Eocene period are fairly abundant and can be found in a wide variety of places across North America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia. From these fossils, scientists are able to tell several things about the lives of early bats and how they have evolved over millions of years. Fossil evidence supports that primitive bats were capable of powered flight and once had longer tails and sloth-like claws to help in terrestrial hunting. Evolutionary selection for longer arms and digits enabled these bat ancestors to leap—and later glide—after their prey, until they eventually developed full powered flight. The diagram below shows how bats’ wings have evolved to be different yet similar to other species over time.