Young sac-winged bats jumble bits of adult-sounding calls into strings, say researchers who've recorded the babies' vocalizations.
The pups make these jumbled noises without the usual contexts, and that's babbling, contends Oliver Behr of the University of Erlangen-Nuernberg in Germany. The nonsense amounts to bat versions of the jabberings of human babies and young birds, he and his colleagues argue in the September Naturwissenschaften. "It's the first example of babbling in mammals other than primates," says Behr.
The new bat study focuses on Costa Rican colonies of Saccopteryx bilineata. A sac-winged male defends a roost that includes several females. The name sac-winged comes from little pouches in