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Caribbean bat species need 8 million years to recover from recent extinction waves

How long does it take a population of mammals to recover after a wave of species loss? Bats in the Caribbean Islands may hold new answers. Caribbean Island bats form an ecologically diverse group that includes the fishing bat, vampire bat and many species of fig-eating bats. Because one-third of the group has disappeared over the past 20,000 years in the Greater Antilles--islands in the Caribbean Sea that include Cuba and Jamaica--the bats are ideal for studying the effects of extinction, scientists say. Using computer simulations, the researchers estimated how long it would take natural processes to restore the number of bat species that lived in the Greater Antilles 20,000 years ago.

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