Hear, hear: the convergent evolution of echolocation in bats?

Emma C. Teeling


The evolutionary history of laryngeal echolocation is controversial, and little is known about the molecular mechanisms that underlie this sense. A recent paper by Li and colleagues is one of the first studies to identify and sequence a gene involved in echolocation in bats – Prestin, the so-called mammalian hearing gene. Phylogenetic analyses show evidence for positive selection acting on this gene in the echolocating lineages and support the convergent evolution of laryngeal echolocation in bats.