Batman's Secret

Bats have a PR problem, according to Boston University's resident bat expert, Tom Kunz. From Vermont to Virginia, bats are falling victim to a mystery illness, but does the public care? No. According to the Boston Globe,

The researchers say they are learning a harsh truth about the public's desire to save animals: Cuteness rules.
And to that, I say: Guilty as charged. Here at NOVA, our subjects are almost always easy on the eyes (adorable chimps, beautiful butterflies, and those baby seals and sea lions that make me want to get up and hug my TV). If they aren't cute, they're classic creepy-crawlies (ants, more ants, and swarms of rats). Poor bats just can't catch a break.

So biologists think that bats need a publicist, "a kind of public relations batman - to give bats an image makeover and educate people about the night creatures' ecological benefits." But I think one fact could change how people--or, women, at least--feel about bats, and here it is:

Male bats lactate.
Okay, not all or them. Just two species, so far, wild fruit bats in Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, in which Kunz and a colleague discovered "well-developed and lacteriforus ducts and underlying mammary tissue similar to that found in lactating females."

Did the boy bats evolve this ability? Or could some pathology or exposure to female hormones be to blame? The researchers aren't sure yet.

But here's something else I didn't know: Human men can lactate, too, though it's typically brought on my drug- or malnutrition-induced hormonal imbalances. Not exactly nature's way.

What, if anything, does this add anything to the ongoing debate over breast vs. bottle? Could future humans evolve a similar natural ability? Or are we just as likely to start flying and locating our insect-meals via echolocation?
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