Date: September 26, 2018
Source: Stanford University
Each sunrise in Las Cruces, Costa Rica, River Ingersoll's field team trekked into the jungle to put the finishing touches on nearly invisible nets. A graduate student in the lab of David Lentink, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stanford University, Ingersoll needed these delicate nets to catch, study and release the region's abundant hummingbirds and bats -- the only two vertebrates with the ability to hover in place.
"We're really interested in how hovering flight evolved," said Ingersoll. "Nectar bats drink from flowers like hummingbirds do, so we want to see if there's any similarities or differences between these two different taxa."
Ingersoll's nets worked, and he ended up examining over 100 individual hummingbirds and bats, covering 17 hummingbird and three bat species, during his field study, the results of which the group published in Science Advances.