X-Rayed Flying Bats Are Just What Your Nightmares Need

X-Rayed Flying Bats Are Just What Your Nightmares Need

When bats aren’t performing surreal renditions of a certain campy TV show, they’re probably flying around, doing bat-like activities. Maybe you’ve seen a bat flapping its wings… but have you seen an X-rayed bat flapping its wings? Yeah, someone’s gone and done that.

What you’re seeing in the video above is a slow-motion recording of a Seba’s short-tailed bat, captured by a team of researchers from Brown University. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the bones of one wing have a 3D skeletal overlay.

As this article over at Smithsonian Mag explains, this overlay is produced via “X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology”, or XROMM for short. The footage, combined with this technology, allows researchers to examine the mechanics of bat flight, from the movement of the bones to the compression and expansion of tendons and muscles.

Thanks to this inside look, it’s been revealed that the tendons of bats can stretch and distort more than previously thought and that their mode of flying is somewhat unique. From our perspective, well, it just looks really cool, if a little creepy.


Video: Smithsonian Mag