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X-Ray Video of Flying Bat Shows Incredible Flapping Fingers

Although bats are wonderful creatures in their own right, they often stir up lots of not-so-wonderful feelings in people. That’s because, of course, they’re associated with razor-sharp teeth, diseases, and dank darkness. Now, there’s another reason to be spooked by bats, but it’s just as fascinating as it is disturbing. Their incredible, spindly skeletons take full display in the slow-mo X-ray video below.

The BBC just posted the above video to its YouTube channel, noting the clip has been taken from the show Inside the Bat Cave. That show, unfortunately only available online in the UK, focuses on the flying mammals and the “secret world” of the still exceptionally mysterious creatures.

The clip focuses on the unique flight methods bats deploy to navigate their surroundings, as well as modulate their bodies’ temperatures. As the experts note in the video, many bat species have short, wide wings useful for maneuverability. This allows them to navigate dense foliage and snap insects off leaves. Bats also have “brown fat” between their shoulder blades, which they can burn up in order to generate body heat; a necessity for flying properly.

This slow-mo, X-ray footage of a bat flying shows how it uses its hands to flap and navigate.

BBC

The biggest highlight of bats’ flight-related anatomy, however, has to be their hand-wings. Apparently, bats’ wings are evolved from the same ancestral genetic blueprint as human hands. And while their fingers are extremely long, they have four per wing, as well as two thumbs. (The “thumbs” are the claws sticking out from the front of their wings.)

Aside from enlightening people, this video is a good reminder that these airborne mammals are not just vectors for disease. On the contrary, bats can clearly teach us a lot about of physiology; not only because of their wings, but their night vision and ultrasonic hearing as well. And who doesn’t want to figure out how those superhuman capabilities work?

This slow-mo, X-ray footage of a bat flying shows how it uses its hands to flap and navigate.

BBC