Trash-Talking Bats | Creation Moments

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Some sports figures have practically made an art of trash-talking. Perhaps the most famous of them all is Muhammad Ali. His taunts-filled trash-talk – both before and during the bouts – worked so well, it helped him become heavyweight boxing champion.

Mexican free-tailed bats emerging from Carlsbad Caverns, Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New MexicoUntil recently, no one knew that some bats do the very same thing in order to distract other bats from gobbling up bugs they want for themselves. Using high-pitched echolocation signals at just the right moment, the Mexican free-tailed bat can block a competitor’s chance to get a meal.

As reported in Science magazine, a biology postdoctoral student at the University of Maryland discovered this behavior by accident. When he played a recording of a bat’s echolocation signal right as a bat was about to catch an insect, the bat was up to 85.9 percent less likely to catch its prey.

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