Some 25,000 years ago, bats once dominated the Caribbean. Did rising sea levels drive them away?
About 25,000 years ago, the Earth was a very different planet. It was deep in the midst of a geological period referred to as the "last glacial maximum," meaning the last time when the planet was so cold that glaciers reached down from the North Pole into North America, Europe and Asia.
With so much water frozen solid, the ocean levels were much lower. And that was good news for a huge population of bats who ruled the considerably larger Caribbean islands of that age. While there are still many bats in the Caribbean today, the population 25,000 years ago was a lot richer and more diverse.
Some of the islands were many times larger than they are at present, and they teemed with many species of bats. The fossil evidence for these bats surrounds the islands, and scientists have long wondered what them off.
One theory was human hunting, and another was that the caves these bats loved were inundated with water as sea level rose.