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Tree of life of birds almost complete


Ellen Paul

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http://news.yale.edu/2015/10/07/tree-life-birds-almost-complete

 

A massive Yale-led genomic analysis of 198 species of birds published in the Oct. 7 edition of the journal Nature.  The research sheds new light on how all modern birds evolved from the only three dinosaur lineages to survive the great extinction event 66 million years ago. 

“This represents the beginning of the end of avian phylogeny,” said Rick Prum, the William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and senior author of the Nature paper. “In the next five or 10 years, we will have finished the tree of life for birds.”

 

Researchers from Cornell University, Florida State University, and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences contributed to the study.

 

The Yale-led effort comes less than a year after the Jarvis-led avian phylogeny published in Science. The Jarvis team of more than 100 researchers used genetic data from 48 modern bird species to produce the most comprehensive avian family tree ever published. Erich Jarvis, a neurobiologist at Duke University Medical Center, and his colleagues described their findings in one of 28 papers on bird evolution that were published nearly simultaneously as part of the sweeping Avian Phylogenomics Project.

 

In 2008, Shannon Hackett of the Field Museum also published a genome-based phylogeny.

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