SA researchers confirm new bat species

2012-09-13 14:00

Cape Town - New bat species have been discovered in East and Southern Africa by researchers working at the University of Venda and Stellenbosch University, among others.

One of the species, Cohen's Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus cohenae) has been named after the South African discover, Lientjie Cohen.

"We now know that a total of five distinct species of large horseshoe bats occur in central and eastern Africa," said Professor Peter Taylor of the University of Venda.

"Now we also know that Hildebrandt's Horseshoe Bat, the species initially known to science, actually only occurs in East Africa."

Work began in 1980 when researchers noted anomalies in bats found in Zimbabwe.

DNA studies

Cohen is a scientist with the Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency and discovered the Cohen's Horseshoe Bat in the Barberton Mountainlands Nature Reserve in 2004.

"We are naming this bat species after Ms Cohen to acknowledge her significant contribution toward the conservation and discovery of new bat species in South Africa, and particularly in Mpumalanga," said Taylor.

Dr Samantha Stoffberg, a researcher in the Evolutionary Genomics Research Group of the Department of Botany and Zoology at Stellenbosch University carried out DNA studies to confirm the unique nature of the bats.

The other species are Smithers' Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus smithersi), the Mozambican Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus mossambicus) and the Mount Mabu Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus mabuensis).

While the researchers examined the bats, they discovered additional surprises that confirm the classification of the species.

"These species are relatively old and evolved in the Pliocene Epoch over the past five to two million years," said Dr Woody Cotterill of Stellenbosch University who assisted in the discovery.

"We suggest that because of climatic extremes and geomorphological changes across eastern Africa, the ancestors of these species were isolated on either mountain tops or along river valleys."

- Follow Duncan on Twitter

  • CaptainGaza - 2012-09-13 15:05

    And I thought Adam named all the animals already, it seems he wasn't around during the Pliocene Epoch. Why does that not surprise me.

      QuintSch - 2012-09-13 16:12

      Just a little study of what the Bible actually teaches will reveal the truth of the matter. So ... Genesis ch 1 says that the animals were created according to their kinds, rather than according to their species — the phrase ‘after his/their kind’ occurs 10 times in this chapter (referring to both plants and animals). It indicates the limitations of variation. What is clear is that numerically there must have been fewer kinds in Adam’s day than the number of species we count today. For example, it is more than likely that there would have been no domestic dogs, coyotes, and wolves as such, but rather one ancestral kind containing the genetic information for all of these to appear under natural selection pressures. Also there would not have been all the different species of bats found today so not really a problem of Adam not naming every animal we find in the present. I am sure we will continue to find new species consistantly in the future too. See Speciation/ natural selection/micro evolution is all part of operational science ... observable, repeatable and testable. All perfectly in sync with Biblical truth and teaching. Microbes to microbiologist evolution is historical science. Nobody was there to see what happened and is not repeatable and is thus a belief system. A secular materialistic religion that all the humanist 'lemmings' believe and follow blindly to their own detriment unfortunately.

      ray.priestley.79 - 2012-09-13 17:32

      I think they should donate the first one to Hashim Amla and the second and third to Jacques and AB.

  • walter.lebza - 2012-09-13 21:53

    We keep discovering what God created. Praise God.

  • pages:
  • 1