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 15 December 2015

Modern Birds Took Flight 95 Million Years Ago

by Laura Geggel, Staff Writer | December 11, 2015 03:30pm ET

Modern birds — from the soaring eagle to the tiny hummingbird — share a common ancestor that lived about 95 million years ago in South America, a new study finds.

That feathery common ancestor laid the groundwork for its innumerable descendants. When an asteroid hit the Yucatan Peninsula about 66 million years ago, it killed off the nonavian dinosaurs. So-called modern birds in South America survived and rapidly diversified, the researchers said.

These modern South American birds then moved to other parts of the world via land bridges (even fliers need stopovers on land), diversifying during periods of global cooling, the researchers found.

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