A hilarious outcome of a study has revealed that bats greet each other with ‘death-metal growls’ and that the mammals have a vocal range that far surpasses most humans.
The study published in Plos Biology found that while bats emit ultrasonic chirps to echolocate flying insects when in the dark, they also let out a sound that most wouldn’t expect. To make this sound, researchers say that they engage thick structures in the larynx called ventricular to communicate with other bats at low frequencies. The production of sounds from the ventricular folds is believed to be very rare in the animal kingdom.
“If you listen to a bat colony in the summer you can hear these calls very clearly,” said Prof Coen Elemans, who led the research at the University of Southern Denmark. “We don’t know the function of the calls, but they make them when they are annoyed with each other, and when they fly away or join a colony.”
The findings actually came to light when scientists were trying to find out how bats produce high frequency for their echolocation. When researchers took high-speed videos of the bat’s vocal cords in action, they discovered the ventricular folds vibrating at low frequencies.
“The only use in humans for these vocal folds is during death metal singing and Tuvan throat singing,” Elemans told the Guardian. “The oscillations become very irregular, they become very rough, and that’s what you get with death metal grunting.”
Most people think that bats are terrifying, bloodthirsty animals. This misconception largely comes from fictional films featuring bats or bat-like characters, but because of these imaginary portrayals of bats, these creatures get a pretty bad rap. What most people don’t know is that bats play a crucial role in maintaining the balance of our ecosystem. These animals help to pollinate a large portion of our food supply and control mosquito populations.
Unfortunately, bat populations are dwindling due to habitat loss and the spread of a disease called white-nose syndrome. Without bats, nearly half of the fruits we enjoy wouldn’t exist, and insect populations would be out of control. Luckily, many organizations are working to help the bat population recover.
Sign this petition to save the bats!
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