University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Faster than a speeding swift: Bats beat birds at their own airborne game

Faster than a speeding swift: Bats beat birds at their own airborne game

When it comes to powered animal flight, bats have always seemed to come second to birds. But scientists who flew a plane to track the flight of Brazilian free-tailed bats have clocked these winged mammals flying at speeds rivaling those of the fastest birds.

The findings, described in the journal Royal Society Open Science, reveal that bats might actually be using some of the same aerodynamic techniques as fast birds, and could shed new light on the dynamics of flight.

Birds are fast, efficient and agile, with bodies sculpted over millions of years of evolution to move through the air....

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