Girl's friendship bracelets raise more than $23,000 for children's hospital where she was once treated
- 14 May - 20 May, 2022
Scientists have figured out why vampire bats are the only mammals that can survive on a diet of just blood. They compared the genome of common vampire bats to 26 other bat species and identified 13 genes that are missing or no longer work in vampire bats. Over the years, those gene tweaks helped them adapt to a blood diet rich in iron and protein but with minimal fats or carbohydrates, the researchers reported in the journal Science Advances. The bats live in South and Central America and are basically “living Draculas,” said co-author Michael Hiller of Germany’s Max Planck Institute. About three inches long with a wingspan of seven inches, the bats bite and then lap up blood from livestock or other animals at night. Most mammals couldn’t survive on a low-calorie liquid diet of blood. Only three vampire species of the 1,400 kinds of bats can do that – the others eat mostly insects, fruit, nectar, pollen or meat, such as small frogs and fish. With such a low-calorie diet, vampire bats can’t go long without a meal. In a pinch, well-fed ones will regurgitate their food to share with a starving neighbour. They seem to keep track of who has helped them in the past, said Hiller, noting that vampire bats have complex social relationships.