Sunday, 13 November 2016

Intelligent Flight: Bats Break Speed Record –160 KM/H or 100 M.P.H.

A free-tailed bat. Image courtesy of M. Siders, Bureau of Land Management (public domain).

Joel Kontinen

When a Brazilian free-tailed bat breaks all records by flying at 160 kilometres an hour (100 m.p.h.), there might be more to the story than simply saying that bats are “well adapted to their aerial lifestyle, with long, angular, narrow wings,” as New Scientist puts it.

Of course they are. But such agility is best explained by design.

All creatures that fly are amazing testimonies of creation. A Darwinian trial-and-error approach could hardly produce amazingly effective fliers.

Even evolutionists will acknowledge that bats have been amazing creatures for a very long time. In 2010 a paper in Nature suggested that the earliest bat Onychonycteris finneyi, dated at “52 million years," could probably echolocate.

Gary McCracken of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and his colleagues “used an airplane tracking device on seven bats from the Frio Bat Cave in south-western Texas to track ground distance covered by bats.”

While they cannot be absolutely sure whether tailwinds or gravity might have helped the bats to beat records, they believe that the wind was weak during the night they measured their speeds.

Other flying creatures have amazing abilities, as well.

Birds are no less amazing. Robins, hummingbirds, toucans, cockatoos and bowerbirds display many signs of very intelligent design that cannot be explained away by evolutionary storytelling.

Swifts can fly ten months without landing, and starling murmurations defy Darwinian explanations.

What is more, even tinier flying creatures are wonderfully made:

Butterflies use the sun for navigation. They have a magnetic compass that allows them to migrate enormous distances.

Bumblebees detect weak electric fields with their mechanosensory hairs.


Photopoulos, Julianna. 2016. Speedy bat flies at 160km/h, smashing bird speed record. New Scientist (9 November).