Baby Bats Babble Like Human Infants

Posted by ABC Comments Off on Baby Bats Babble Like Human Infants

—Just like human children, bat pups may amuse themselves by saying the equivalent of “goo goo ga ga.”

Video: Fishing Bats Battle Catfish in Belize (July 24, 2006)
Video: Vampire Bats Hunt by Sound of Victims’ Breath, Study Says (June 19, 2006)
Vampire Bats: Video, Audio, Map, More

Young greater sac-winged bats, like the one pictured here, make long strings of adult like noises, according to research by Mirjam Knörnschild and her colleagues at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

The screeches, barks, and hisses have no social context, meaning the sounds are most likely babbling and not a form of communication, the scientists report in an upcoming issue of the journal Naturwissenschaften – listen to a babbling baby bat

In humans, babbling is thought to help infants train the muscles of their vocal tract for adult speech and to help them practice combining syllables into specific sounds. Babbling could serve a similar purpose in bat pups, Knörnschild wrote in an email.

The behavior is a rare finding in animals. Until now, babbling had been observed only in humans and a few primates, such as pygmy marmosets. Some songbirds also go through speech phases that resemble babbling.
But the bat research may mean that there are many more examples to discover.

“In general, I believe that babbling could be essential to acquire complex vocal repertoires,” Knörnschild said. Whales, dolphins, parrots, and most primates fit into this category.
“Further research about infant vocalizations could reveal that babbling is a much more widespread phenomenon in mammals than was previously thought.”
—Aalok Mehta

Photography courtesy Mirjam Knörnschild Photography courtesy Mirjam Knörnschild

Categories: Baby Bats
  • RSS
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Linkedin
  • Youtube

Popular Posts

Hendra Virus

THE key to unlocking the mysteries of the Hendra virus ...

Plant Evolved a Bat

The dish-shaped leaves emit a powerful echo that helps the ...

Christmas Island Pip

In July, Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett announced $1.5m ...

Baby Bats Babble Lik

—Just like human children, bat pups may amuse themselves ...

New Bats Today

Dr Les Hall, a world authority on Australian Bats ...


  • Cheap reliable web hosting from
  • Domain name search and availability check by
  • Website and logo design contests at
  • Reviews of the best cheap web hosting providers at