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?