Research uncovers evidence of giant bat

The bat lived millions of years ago in New Zealand.
The bat lived millions of years ago in New Zealand.
Artist's concept: Gavin Mouldey.
It was a creature fit for The Lord of the Rings, a giant burrowing bat that inhabited New Zealand. But it wasn’t fiction.

     The creature, discovered by an international team of scientists, lived millions of years ago and was three times the size of an average bat today, according to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports.
     The bat's remains – teeth and bones -- were uncovered in Central Otago on the South Island of New Zealand. The creature would have weighed 40 grams or 0.08 pounds, and it would have been an omnivore. This is the first new bat genus to be added to New Zealand's fauna in more than 150 years, according to the University of New South Wales.
     Burrowing bats are only found in New Zealand, according to the university, although they once lived in Australia. These bats fly, but also scurry about on all fours.
     The study, "A new, large-bodied omnivorous bat (Noctilionoidea: Mystacinidae) reveals lost morphological and ecological diversity since the Miocene in New Zealand," by Suzanne J. Hand, et al, was published Jan. 10, in the journal Scientific Reports.

Did people die young before modern medicine? We all think we know the answer to this question. It’s taken for granted that before modern medicine, people died early. But an archaeologist from the Australian National University disagrees.
     As the result of a new method of assessing the age at death of skeletal remains, scientists are learning more about how long people lived. Christine Cave, a scholar with the university’s school of archaeology and anthropology, analyzes the wear on teeth in skeletal remains in comparison to living populations. Using three Anglo-Saxon English cemeteries for people buried between the years 475 and 625, she found that it was common for people to live until they were old.
     Without modern medicine, the age of death was about 70, she said. Women generally lived longer than men – just as they do today. Higher status men were buried with weapons – shields, swords, etc. Higher status women were buried with jewelry.
     The study "Sex and the Elderly:Attitudes to long-lived women and men in early Anglo-Saxon England," by Cave and Marc F.Oxenham, was published in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology.


     Researchers study old bones with new tech

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