Echolocation and Its Discontents

by Tammy Levent

Our world is constantly shaped by humans. Having an extra sense can sometimes do a lot more bad than it can do good. For the past 45 years, people have walked around the glass museum of Chicago collecting birds that have been killed. Bats have been flying into a convention center in Chicago and this is strange because they have such good vision.

Key Takeaways:

  • Birds and bats fly into tall buildings with smooth vertical surfaces. While this is normal for birds, bats should not have this problem because they have an extrasensory skill set.
  • Scientists discovered that bats perceive smooth horizontal surfaces as water, and conducted an experiment in a controlled environment to test whether they can see smooth vertical surfaces.
  • Despite bats having echolocation, it was a challenge for them to see a smooth vertical surface and nearly a quarter of the bats flew into it during an experiment.

“Many bats can see both at night and during the day, and some can even distinguish colors.”

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