Sanguinivorous Bats and Leeches—A Common Ancestry

How genetics map a unique common ancestry

Vampire bats from the family Phyllostomidae, comprised of three known species and blood sucking leeches (sanguinivores) from four subspecies (Hirudo medicinalis) tested all share common genes.

The vampire bat is a unique evolutionary specimen. The only mammals that survive on blood alone (obligate sanguivory) the 93% protein diet requires specialized kidney function and unique microbiome (gut bacteria) along with an enhanced immune system required for an all blood diet. Interestingly, 87% of the bat salivary proteins are common across the tree of life. 13% was unique, but common to both species.

That leeches and vampire bats share a common ancestry of 4 million years was no huge surprise to geneticists. However, the 13% unique protein genome is also found in a majority population of pastors, priests, and bishops. The remarkable gene has spawned a niche in humanity surpassing the mythical vampire. The preacher—impervious to contradiction through enhanced immunity while addicted to the blood of another is a remarkable connection even I didn’t foresee.

Sucking the life out of humanity without contributing anything. Talk about unprofitable servants! Isn’t that a scripture?


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

36 thoughts on “Sanguinivorous Bats and Leeches—A Common Ancestry”

    1. The bats and leaches, or the preachers? I waded through all the technicals of this study, and 4million years was on the divergent timeline. I could have been off a month or two in my interpretation of the data. We’re not talking a LUCA here. Not yet!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Vampire bats seem to be about 20 million years old (ie when they diverged from other bats), leeches are some 400 million years old, so the common ancestor of vampire bats and leeches must be over 400 million years old. 4 million years ago is no time at all!

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Had a bit more of a look – 560 million years ago would have been the last common ancestor of worms and bats! The new edition of Dawkins and Wong “The Ancesror’s Tale” is excellent for common ancestry because of the way it is structured. Proteins are a different matter – if Vampire Bats and leeches both use similar proteins to prevent blood coagulation that wouldn’t be a big surprise (there may only be one way of doing it) but doesn’t tell you anything about closeness of ancestry.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. I love it, you gave quite a twist, I had to go back and read a few lines to make sure I had not skipped anything. I love your analogy. Hugs

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The bats and leaches were no more of a surprise than the ministry. Somehow thinking of sandcastles, Mel and JB, had spurned a sudden interest in blood sucking mammals. Leeches is usually a legal/lawyer term, but somehow it all came together.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. They were the inspiration. There are plenty more to choose from though. I’ve always had a thing for vampire bats and leeches. It helps me understand religious motives.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. He doesn’t come here anymore. He finds my humor offensive. He may be right, but it’s all in fun when I don’t mean it. Mel, your bilinear, reverse osmotic ontology is incoherent!

      Liked by 5 people

  2. It’s strange how the tree of life has many dead ends and I suppose it adds strength to Mr Dawkins ‘Selfish Gene ‘ interpretation of evolution .
    It’s not the species that is important in survival but the almost immortal gene. We are , along with the rest of organic life , gene survival machines. So it maybe even the preacher has his part to play in the gene game , but then such a game has no moral backing any more than a game of chess is a moral effort to win.
    We must remember that Mr Dawkins believes the new gene is the meme and it is taking over in the development of human civilisation. If the meme becomes supreme then carbon based intelligence will be superseded by silicon based intelligence and the need to breathe and eat will be a thing of the past. Just think maybe the smart gene has just proved too smart for itself.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Machines for survival may be true, and being part machine, neural implants to make us healthier, better, happier, on the horizon we have no idea.


      1. A purely silicon brain will have no need of bodily functions , I’m not sure about happiness that is an illusive property . Self – replicating machines could travel the length of the galaxy so we are back to the Fermi Paradox where are they? Professor Brian Cox seems to doubt that any intelligent life form exists in our own galaxy.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So if I can play a bit of the Batty Devil’s Advocate a minute 😛 please… a question…

    The vampire bats and leeches over millions of years passed this genome down generations upon generations — after some very lengthy time of adaptations and failures (Natural Selection in progress) — until it is what it is today in those species. IOW, originally during those initial centuries/millenia the forces of their environments pushed these genetic ‘survival’ modifications…

    Therefore, are we bats and leeches BORN with this life-sucking unprofitable “Special” genome or did our familial environments push it into our neurological blood streams? 😜🤩

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I go with injection philosophy. Monkey see, hear, monkey do, preach, believe. Sometimes the injection is a veritable cramming down the throat of the most susceptible.

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Hahahaha! 😆 “Babbling secretion.” Yes. On a more serious note, those secretions could easily be changed to “drugs.”

            Addictively selected leading to abusers and “drug” dealers. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

          2. That euphoria, those dopamine highs that Wild Pastrami Mel doles out and boasts about could EASILY be synonymously switched with ecstasy or any number of OTC drugs.

            Because the human brain and its neurology is SO VERY malleable and gullible — almost ALWAYS seeking pleasure/reward — it is an organ that is VERY susceptible to addiction, all forms of addiction including dopamine via religiosity. Period. The case studies and stats prove America’s horrendous addiction epidemics. It is no debate.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Agreed. That’s why the long ride. Always seeking his next pat on the backside from a believing buddy. It’s all quite predictable nowadays.

              Liked by 2 people

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