© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. The organization of the mammalian cerebral cortex shares fundamental features across species. However, while the radial thickness of grey matter varies within one order of magnitude, the tangential spread of the cortical sheet varies by orders of magnitude across species. A broader sample of model species may provide additional clues for understanding mechanisms that drive cortical expansion. Here, we introduce the bat Carollia perspicillata as a new model species. The brain of C. perspicillata is similar in size to that of mouse but has a cortical neurogenic period at least 5 times longer than mouse, and nearly as long as that of the rhesus macaque, whose brain is 100 times larger. We describe the development of laminar and regional structures, neural precursor cell identity and distribution, immune cell distribution, and a novel population of Tbr2+ cells in the caudal ganglionic eminence of the developing neocortex of C. perspicillata. Our data indicate that unique mechanisms guide bat cortical development, particularly concerning cell cycle length. The bat model provides new perspective on the evolution of developmental programs that regulate neurogenesis in mammalian cerebral cortex, and offers insight into mechanisms that contribute to tangential expansion and gyri formation in the cerebral cortex.