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An artist's impression of a New Zealand burrowing bat, Mystacina robusta, that went extinct last century. The new fossil find, Vulcanops jennyworthyae, that lived millions of years ago in New Zealand, is an ancient relative of burrowing or short-tailed bats. Credit: Gavin Mouldey.
The fossilized remains of a giant burrowing bat that lived in New Zealand millions of years ago have been found by a UNSW Sydney-led international team of scientists.
Teeth - Bones - Bat - Times - Size
Teeth and bones of the extinct bat - which was about three times the size of an average bat today - were recovered from 19 to 16-million-year-old sediments near the town of St Bathans in Central Otago on the South Island.
The study, by researchers from Australia, New Zealand, the UK and USA, is published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Bats - New - Zealand - Australia - Burrowing
Burrowing bats are only found now in New Zealand, but they once also lived in Australia. Burrowing bats are peculiar because they not only fly; they also scurry about on all fours, over the forest floor, under leaf litter and along tree branches, while foraging for both animal and plant food.
With an estimated weight of about 40 grams, the newly found fossil bat was the biggest burrowing bat yet known. It also represents the first new bat genus to be added to New Zealand's fauna in more than 150 years.
Vulcanops - Jennyworthyae - Team - Member - Jenny
It has been named Vulcanops jennyworthyae, after team member Jenny Worthy who found the bat fossils, and after Vulcan, the mythological Roman god of fire and volcanoes, in reference to New Zealand's tectonic nature, but also to the historic Vulcan Hotel in the mining town St Bathans.
The fossil dig site at St Bathans in New Zealand where the fossilised remains of an extinct giant burrowing bat, Vulcanops jennyworthyae, were found. Credit: Trevor Worthy.
Research - Team - Members - Scientists - UNSW
Other research team members include scientists from UNSW Sydney, University of Salford,...
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