SURPRISE! It's A...Babbling Baby Bat? : Short Wave A paper published recently in the journal Science finds similarities between the babbling of human infants and the babbling of the greater sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata) — a small species of bat that lives in Central and South America. As science correspondent Geoff Brumfiel reports, the researchers believe both bats and humans evolved babbling as a precursor to more complex vocal behavior like singing, or, in the case of people, talking.

Wondering what similarities humans have to other animals? Email the human animals at shortwave@npr.org. We might dig up some answers.

SURPRISE! It's A...Babbling Baby Bat?

SURPRISE! It's A...Babbling Baby Bat?

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White-lined sac-winged bat (saccopteryx bilineata) in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil. Richard McManus/Getty Images hide caption

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Richard McManus/Getty Images

White-lined sac-winged bat (saccopteryx bilineata) in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil.

Richard McManus/Getty Images

A paper published recently in the journal Science finds similarities between the babbling of human infants and the babbling of the greater sac-winged bat (Saccopteryx bilineata) — a small species of bat that lives in Central and South America. The researchers believe both bats and humans evolved babbling as a precursor to more complex vocal behavior such as singing, or, in the case of people, talking.

Wondering what similarities humans have to other animals? Email the human animals at shortwave@npr.org. We might dig up some answers.

This episode was produced by Rebecca Ramirez, edited by Gisele Grayson and fact-checked by Indi Khera. Brian Jarboe was the audio engineer.