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.

Sunday 18 February 2018

Biologists uncover a possible connection between three birds’ evolution

Published on February 4, 2018  by Lima Charlie

Brood parasitism has fascinated many scientists since the behavior was identified. Popular human affection for the devoir of child rearing has induced a particularly strong “hathos” for the practice in other species. Brood parasitism– when animals depend on other organisms to raise their young– is most notably an instance of convergent evolution in birds.

The cuckoo, cowbird, and honeyguides each lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, who are thus bamboozled into feeding and caring for their nestlings. The fact that this hijacked parenting operation occurred independently in each species yields an opportunity for biologists to study the convergent evolution phenomenon. Convergent evolution is the process by which species of different lineages separately develop similar traits. The teleonomy (the apparent purposes of natural structures) of such evolutionary changes are of great interest to scientists who want to put together a full story of evolution’s history.

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