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Are friendships formed with those we truly like? Or do we settle for whoever happens to be around?

This question is hard to answer in humans, and even harder in other animals. But a new study of vampire bats suggests that bat “friendships” go beyond mere convenience. Many social bonds built between captive bats persist when the bats are released into the wild, researchers report October 31 in Current Biology.

“This study convincingly shows that vampire bats can form stable bonds,” says Joan Silk, an anthropologist at Arizona State University in Tempe, who wasn’t involved in the study. While she cautions against assuming that other animals’ friendships are anything like our own, she says that this study adds to a growing body of research that critters can form friendshiplike bonds.

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