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New 'tree of life' traces evolution of a mysterious cotinga birds


PhysOrg

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They are some of the brightest, loudest, oddest-looking, least-understood birds on the planet. Some have bulbous crests, long fleshy wattles, or Elvis-worthy pompadours in addition to electric blue, deep purple, or screaming orange feathers. But thanks to a comprehensive new evolutionary "tree of life" generated for the tropical cotinga family of South America, the door is now open to new discoveries about the more than 60 species in this amazingly diverse group of birds.

 

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