Scientists Find Bat Feared Extinct

Female from species not seen in more than a century is found (and killed)
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 4, 2014 4:38 PM CDT
Scientists Find Bat Feared Extinct
While this is a bat with big ears, it is not the New Guinea big-eared bat.   (Shutterstock)

Researchers studying bats in Papua New Guinea came across a long-lost friend in their nets: a female identified as a New Guinea big-eared bat, reports Scientific American. It's noteworthy because no specimen has been seen in 124 years, and the species was feared to be extinct. Now that a positive ID has been made, researchers plan to return to the area to look for more and add to the scant knowledge of the creature. The bad news: The female found was "ethically euthanized" after it was caught, the Australian researchers write in the Conversation, so we'll hope she wasn't the last of her kind.

Assuming more exist, the big-eared bats might be in trouble anyway because of how quickly local rainforests are being cleared to make room for development and agriculture, say the researchers. The same applies to other microbats and creatures of all kinds. "Who knows what other species are out there?" they write. "If we’re not careful, they might be gone before we can find them." Adds John Platt of Scientific American: "We may not have another 120 years to save this rediscovered species." (Click to read about a long-lost snake also rediscovered.)

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