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I understand that pterosaurs and birds evolved from having teeth to beaks as beaks are lighter than teeth and can serve the same function. pterosaurs laid eggs, and birds currently lay eggs, while bats give birth to live young. Also as far as I know there are no placental mammals to have beaks.

Would it be possible for bats to evolve beaks as an adaptation to flying?

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Yes its possible.

there are no placental mammals with beaks but that does not mean much, there are no crocodiles, snakes, or amphibians with beaks either. Beaks evolved several times so they can't be that hard, and structurally they are fairly simple and utilize materials mammals produce.

Beaks are lighter but also less effective than teeth. Beaks may have little to do with flight, we are not sure, beaks evolved many times in archosaurs so they may not be related.

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  • $\begingroup$ Beaks in mammals ? Maybe not totally impossible but hard to imagine that it can work, given the way mammals lactate their cute little ones (if they don't lay eggs like Platypus, I mean) ... Bats don't lay eggs. I agree that it is a good trait for flight because it is light. $\endgroup$ – user78828 May 25 at 9:11
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Bat and bird diets are largely the same once mature, but a beak would make suckling quite difficult if not impossible for newborns. The only way around this I can see is a structure with a pronounced gap in the middle that closes once weaned.

But why would bats evolve beaks? They would need to specialize in a type of food they can't access otherwise: wood boring grubs or larvae protected by particularly tough bark might select for bats with more pronounced front teeth able to peel back the outer bark, and the more pointed to peck them out of tunnels and holes in the inner bark.

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  • $\begingroup$ Mammals that feed on wood-boring insects have evolved multiple times (aye-ayes, striped possums, apatemyids, thingodons) but in all those cases they just evolve big rodent-like incisors. $\endgroup$ – user2352714 May 27 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @user2352714 Indeed, and that's the only avenue I can see beaks evolving from in placental mammals. $\endgroup$ – rek May 31 at 16:10
  • $\begingroup$ The point is they don't need beaks, because they already have a morphological feature that fulfills the same role. $\endgroup$ – user2352714 Jun 1 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I get it. Doesn't change what I said. $\endgroup$ – rek Jun 2 at 20:24

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