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

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.

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

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After listening to hours of bat pups in the wild, scientists have identified eight characteristics of babbling that are shared by human babies and the greater sac-winged bat. B.G. Thomson/Science Source hide caption

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B.G. Thomson/Science Source

Bats Love To Babble — Just Like Humans

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Fabio Consoli for NPR
Fabio Consoli for NPR

Bringing Up Baby

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Researchers say when a baby is babbling, he's primed to learn. Petri Oeschger/Getty Images hide caption

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Petri Oeschger/Getty Images

Baby Talk: Decoding The Secret Language Of Babies

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