Genetic evidence that first vampires emerged less than 26 million years ago

By | November 5, 2008

What’s this? Vampires in a New Scientist article? Oh, bats. Vampire bats have a special gene called a  plasminogen activator which keeps blood from coagulating. We have the gene too and we use it to prevent heart attack since it busts up blood clots and clears vessels.

dn15083-1_250… The first vampires, which emerged less than 26 million years ago according to genetic evidence, are closely related to insect-eating bats that may have gorged on the parasites of prehistoric beasts. “Once you’re pulling insects off of a mammal, it’s a very small step to going after the blood,” he says.

Unlike other bats, vampire bats boast knife-sharp incisors that erupt out of their mouths. “You can actually cut yourself handling a bat skull in a museum, they’re that sharp,” Patterson says. Their tongues contain a specialized groove that allows a blood-meal to flow via capillary action, not sucking or slurping.

“They’re absolutely amazing animals,” he says. – ns

Leave a Reply