21 Jun, 2018 590 Animals (Zoology)

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss how some bats, dolphins and other animals emit sounds at high frequencies to explore their environments, rather than sight. This was such an unlikely possibility, to natural historians from C18th onwards, that discoveries were met with disbelief even into the C20th; it was assumed that bats found their way in the dark by touch. Not all bats use echolocation, but those that do have a range of frequencies for different purposes and techniques for preventing themselves becoming deafened by their own sounds. Some prey have evolved ways of detecting when bats are emitting high frequencies in their direction, and some fish have adapted to detect the sounds dolphins use to find them.

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  • Kate Jones No other episodes
    Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity at University College London
  • Gareth Jones No other episodes
    Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol
  • Dean Waters No other episodes
    Lecturer in the Environment Department at the University of York

Reading list

  • Acoustic Ecology of European Bats: Species Identification, Study of their Habitats and Foraging Behaviour
    Michel Barataud (French National Museum of Natural History, 2016) Google Books →
  • The Blind Watchmaker
    Richard Dawkins (Longman, 1986) Google Books →
  • Blip, Ping and Buzz: Making Sense of Radar and Sonar
    M. Denny (Johns Hopkins Press, 2007) Google Books →
  • Bats of Britain and Europe
    Christian Dietz and Andreas Kiefer (Bloomsbury Natural History, 2016) Google Books →
  • Bats: In a World of Echoes
    Johan Ekloef and Jens Rydell (Springer International Publishing, 2018)
  • Listening in the Dark: Acoustic Orientation of Bats and Men
    Donald R. Griffin (Cornell University Press, 1986) Google Books →
  • A Guide to British Bats
    Kate E. Jones and Allyson Walsh (Field Studies Council, 2001) Google Books →
  • Social Calls of the Bats of Britain and Ireland
    Neil Middleton, Andrew Froud and Keith French (Pelagic Publishing, 2014) Google Books →
  • British Bat Calls: A Guide to Species Identification
    Jon Russ (Pelagic Publishing, 2012) Google Books →
  • Echolocation in Bats and Dolphins
    Jeanette Thomas, Cynthia Moss and Marianne Vater (University of Chicago Press, 2004) Google Books →

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Programme ID: b0b6hrl3

Episode page:

Auto-category: 591.5 (Animal behavior and communication)

Hello (First sentence from this episode) Hello. If you could hear bats flying at night, they were deafenless.