“O Yahweh, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumer­able, both small and great beasts” (Psa 104:24-25).

Most of us shudder when we see a bat launch itself into the evening sky, but the bat itself is a wonderful example of engineering excellence. Take the wing for example. A bird’s wing is rigid and its structure is very efficient at providing lift, but the flexible bat wing allows for greater manoeuvrability. Bats can position their wings into different shapes, changing the degree and direction of lift very quickly. this lets them weave and dive in the air like no other animal, giving them a distinct advantage in hunting insects.

Then there is the marvel of their echo-location system. If you closed your eyes and tried to wend your way through an obstacle course by emitting regular squeals how far do you think you would get without tripping over? Not very far. Yet bats are able to emit very high pitched sounds and interpret the returning echoes to determine the nature of an object, how big it is and in what direction it is moving.

To achieve this degree of flexibility, the bat would need to have the right wing design, the capability of emitting the correct decibel pitch to navigate and the special ear capable of interpreting the information coming back. As well as this they have to distinguish between the signals coming in and those going back out without getting them mixed up! Plus, when they are in the middle of a large swarm of fellow bats they need to be able to distinguish their own noise from that of countless others.

In 2014, researchers from Maryland discovered that free-tailed bats emitted a specific sound that was successful in interfering with the sonar of other prey-seeking bats of the same species. they called this process ‘sweep jamming’. the study concluded that bats emit this sound intentionally to interfere with the sonar of food-seeking companions.

In a recent article in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Japanese scientists published a paper investigating how bats can plan their attack trajectories to hit multiple targets in sequence with a minimum amount of energy. How is it that they can focus their attention on the random movements of insects and hit two targets separated by dif­ferent angles within a matter of seconds using only sound?

Using both experimental and mathematical models, the scientists determined that bats routinely design the most ‘rational’ flight path to successfully hit multiple targets. What they discovered was that wild echo-locating bats plan their flight paths by distributing their attention among multiple prey items, which means that the bats do not forage in a hit-or-miss fashion but rather spatially anticipate their future targets for optimum routing. And they do this all night long.

It would be like a shooter facing a thousand skeets launched every 1-5 seconds in a 360-degree, 3D field and hitting every one for hours on end – all while avoiding other individuals that are doing the same thing in the same space. And insects, we know, don’t fly in straight lines or curves like skeet; they make sud­den turns, too. Yet every night, each bat takes on this challenge as a matter of course.

Insect hunting on the wing is hard work. Bats ex­pend 14 times their basal metabolic rate while hunting. they can’t afford to waste energy. By rationally design­ing the most efficient routes, they are able to conserve energy and one way the bat selects the optimum flight path is by getting both insects into its sonar beam.

All of this complex behaviour would be impossible to come by through random mutational chance. Bats have been deliberately built by the Creator who knew precisely all the elements required to provide each of these incredible capabilities.