Some say Mother Nature is a mad scientist.
And when we least expect it, when we think we’ve seen everything there is to see in the animal kingdom…
Animal researcher Nicolas Nesi was taken aback during field work that produced an almost nightmarish discovery.
It’s something so extreme, pet lovers may suffer in their dreams ever after…or maybe they’ll find it strangely cute!
Nesi was working in 2009 on his doctoral thesis, studying a “normal” species.
But his work in the lowlands of West Africa revealed something that was more like a science fiction movie character.
He found an animal that appears to be a combination of two beasts:
Imagine your favorite pooch’s head attached to the body of a giant bat.
Pretty freaky, right?
Buettikofer’s epauletted bat roams the night skies above the African plains, and looks cute enough to scratch behind the ears.
Then again, Ear scratching might not be the best way to handle this fruit-eating megabat because they still have large, sharp teeth.
Nesi’s discovery was more than what he expected gathering data for his postdoctoral research for Queen Mary University of London.
“He looks to have a dog head because this is an adult male specimen,” Nesi told The Dodo.
“Adult males have a large snout with large lips (similar to a dog’s).”
Long, white hairs around the scent glands on the shoulders of these bats can be puffed out or retracted. Males use this look to attract potential mates.
When these bats get all “fluffy” they look just like dogs.
Of course, when pictures hit the internet, people quickly questioned whether or not these bats were real.
“I work with this species, so I know what to expect,” Nesi said.
“[But] I can understand how people can be surprised and say that it is Photoshopped.”
These bats aren’t just another cute, or nightmarish, face in the wild.
From a practical standpoint, all bats serve an important role in their respective ecosystems:
“Fruit bats are very important because by eating fruit they spread seeds, and in doing so, contribute to the regeneration of forests,” Nesi said.
“Also, fruit bats are, like insect and bird [species], very important pollinators in tropical and desert environments.”
Believe it or not, these “flying dogs” keep life going in the far reaches of Africa.
You still wouldn’t want one as a pet, though.
Let’s stick to our real canine friends for good old-fashioned companionship. 😉
Source: The Dodo