The Christian Science Monitor

Holy misdirected anger! Bats not to blame, say scientists.

Often associated with darkness, bats have long been vilified in Western culture. And now scientists’ claims that a species of bat likely played a role in the origin of the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t helped their popularity.

But to bat biologists, such animus is misguided. For one thing, bats are incredibly diverse: There are more than 1,400 different species of bats, making up between a quarter and a fifth of all mammal species.

“People really do think of a bat as just one kind of animal,” says Gerald Carter, an assistant professor and behavioral ecologist at Ohio State University.

Bats also play vital roles in the ecosystems they inhabit. By spreading

Shifting perceptions

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