History of Art, Architecture, and Archaeology


Laura Stroik


Certain dental traits have been routinely used to define the classification of fossil chiropteran (bat) species, but it is not clear if these characteristics are appropriate and effective for accurate species delineation. Specifically, if the traits that are currently used to define fossil species are variable within related living species, then the use of such characteristics in the fossil record would be unsuitable. Using microCT scans and three-dimensional reconstructions, the amount of variability in five dental traits were evaluated in eleven extant chiropteran species. The results revealed that some traits that defined particular species, such as hypoflexid presence, were not consistent across all specimens within a species. This finding thus indicates that these traits are not appropriate in species classification, revealing that more research is needed to standardize the characteristics that are used in defining extinct chiropteran species.