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Apr. 29, 2002 — Dolphins do it. Big brown bats do it. And sometime soon, the Office of Naval Research hopes its researchers will be able to do it too.
Bats are mammals of the order Chiroptera ( pron.: / k aɪ ˈ r ɒ p t ər ə / ; from the Greek χείρ - cheir , "hand" [ 2 ] and πτερόν - pteron , "wing" [ 3 ] ) whose forelimbs form webbed wings , making them the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight . By contrast, other mammals said to fly, such as flying squirrels , gliding possums , and colugos , can only glide for short distances. Bats do not flap their entire forelimbs, as birds do, but instead flap their spread-out digits , [ 4 ] which are very long and covered with a thin membrane or patagium .
Amid heightened concerns about climate change and the economic and environmental costs of fossil fuels, wind has become an increasingly popular source of energy.
Bats are the only mammals capable of true flight. With extremely elongated fingers and a wing membrane stretched between, the bat’s wing anatomically resembles the human hand. Almost 1,000 bat species can be found worldwide.