Pterosaurs and bats have always been pterosaurs and bats!

Quotable quote

“For use in understanding the evolution of vertebrate flight, the early record of pterosaurs and bats is disappointing: Their most primitive representatives are fully transformed as capable fliers.”1

The photographs below show that bats have always been bats.

Palaeochiropteryx tupaiodon, one of the “oldest” (by evolutionary reckoning) fossil bats Artist’s impression of a living horseshoe bat
Palaeochiropteryx tupaiodon—one of the “oldest” (by evolutionary reckoning) fossil bats. It was found in the Messel oil shale pit near Darmstadt, Germany, and is “dated” between 48 and 54 million years old. It clearly had fully developed wings, and its inner ear had the same construction as those of modern bats, showing that it had full sonar equipment (photo courtesy Dr. Joachim Scheven).
Artist’s impression of a living horseshoe bat (courtesy Steve Cardno).


  1. Sereno, Paul C., The evolution of dinosaurs, Science 284(5423):2137–2147 (quote on p. 2143), June 25, 1999. Sereno goes on to claim that birds evolved from dinosaurs—see Archaeoraptor: Phony “feathered” fossil for evidence against this theory. Return to text.