As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

From hummingbird to owl: New research decodes bird family tree

Date:October 12, 2015

Source:Florida State University

The rapid extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago gave rise to a stunning variety of bird species over the next few million years, according to Florida State University researchers.

A study published in the journal Nature in coordination with Yale University resolved the bird family tree, something that has never been accomplished by scientists. It shows that all land birds diverged early on from a group that includes vultures and hawks, and indeed that all birds evolved from a group of dinosaurs that included the Tyrannosaurus rex and Velociraptor.

“These birds just diversified rapidly after dinosaurs went extinct,” said Emily Moriarty Lemmon, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Science at FSU. “Now that these relationships have been identified, we can more accurately study how color vision, feather structure and many other bird traits have evolved through time.”

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