In a striking example of evolutionary convergence, bats and whales appear to have at least two things in common: their ability to use biosonar to navigate and explore their environments and the molecular sequence of a protein that helps them do so, according to two new papers published online today (January 25) in Current Biology.
An echolocating bat (Myotis bechsteinii)
avoiding collision with a plant

Image: Wikimedia commons,
PLoS Computational Biology
"It's a nice example" of convergence at the molecular level, said evolutionary biologist linkurl:David Pollock; of University of Colorado School of Medicine, who was not involved in the research, "and you've got this unusual convergence of function that they're both using sonar. That's a sort of ready explanation [for the strong sequence similarity], if you will." The protein in question, Prestin, is thought to play a role in allowing mammals to detect minute differences in timing...

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