D: Yaël, I've decided that I'd rather be Batman than Superman.
Y: Why is that, Don?
D: Superman might be faster than a speeding bullet, but bats have fast brains.
Y: You don't say.
D: Bats use echolocation when they hunt. They emit ultrasonic calls which hit potential prey, sending an echo back to the bat. The bat processes that echo information in its brain to locate where the prey is and capture it.
Y: So, you're telling me that process is fast.
D: Not just fast. Superfast. Scientists thought bats might use some sort of autopilot when capturing prey, especially when they were in the last seconds of capture. But a group of Swedish scientists working with lab and wild bats has shown that bats are making decisions down to the final moments. They recorded the bats on film and discovered a bat can adjust its attack until it has about one hundred milliseconds to reach its prey.
Y: That does sound fast.
D: It is. Did you know that the fastest baseball pitches take four hundred milliseconds to reach the strike zone? And the human brain takes two hundred milliseconds to recognize face emotions.
Y: Their responses aren't just reflex reactions?
D: Simple reflex reactions don't require the brain to process information. These bats adjusted their attacks and even stopped an attack when prey was removed. That was more than a reflex.
Y: Interesting. I suppose their quick brains are the result evolutionary pressure. The faster thinkers were better hunters and survived to produce more offspring. But I don't think Batman had a bat brain, Don.
D: That's true, Yaël. Maybe Superman would be a better choice.