The Angolan free-tailed bat is a forest creature that has become a village creature; as the great trees (including the hollow trees, like that one in Méliandou) have been felled, replaced by clearings and gardens and settlements, the bat has been forced to adapt. It has become synanthropic, closely associated with humans. Now it roosts in the hundreds beneath the thatch and metal roofs of village houses, just overhead as people eat and sleep.Is Ebola that close too? If so, we’ve got still more to learn about this lethal, mysterious virus: not just where it hides and how it gets into humans, but why sometimes it lurks without leaping.
December 30, 2014 at 10:44 AM EST