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Evolution: Vangas beat Darwin’s finches in diversity


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The diversity of the Madagascan vangas is unique. The bird family only consists of 22 species, but these cover the whole range of body size of the passerines, the bird group vangas belong to (6,000 species). Whereas smaller species use their comparatively small bill to feed by picking up insects, the largest among the vanga species may even catch amphibians with its very large bill. Thus vangas are much more diverse than Darwin’s finches, known to be a model for rapid evolution. Vangidae are the only known birds which experienced two peaks of rapid diversification, new research suggests. For birds, only one such peak is common. 

 

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