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In the Amazon's 'sand forests,' birds play by different evolutionary rules

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Picture the Amazon. You're thinking lush rainforests teeming with animals, right? It turns out, the Amazon Basin contains other less-famous ecosystems that have been under-studied by biologists for years, including patches of habitat growing on white sands. Scientists are starting to turn their attention to these "sand forests" and the animals that live there. In a new study, researchers examined birds from the region and found that unlike birds in the dense rainforest, the white sand birds travel from one habitat patch to another and interbreed. It's a characteristic that could change the way conservationists protect the sand forest birds.

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