Big-time insights from a tiny bird fossil

Field, Daniel J. Big-time insights from a tiny bird fossil. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114 (30). pp. 7750-7752.

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Abstract

Birds are among the most diverse and widely distributed groups of vertebrate animals. There are well over 10,000 recognized species alive today, occupying virtually every subaerial ecosystem (1). The amazing breadth of extant bird diversity is manifested in dizzying varieties of forms, colors, and lifestyles, ranging from iridescent, hovering, nectar-feeding hummingbirds to nocturnal, flightless, worm-eating kiwis. How, when, and why has this spectacular diversity arisen? The only direct evidence informing such questions can be obtained from the fossil record of the modern bird radiation, but the early fossil record of modern birds is exceedingly sparse. In PNAS, Ksepka et al. (2) help to improve our understanding of this pivotal interval of bird evolutionary history by reporting the discovery of a new fossil bird filling an important temporal gap.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: keywords: Birds, K-Pg, Palaeontology, Evolution, Adaptive Radiation, Mass Extinction, Phylogeny, Molecular Clocks
Subjects: 04 - Palaeobiology
Divisions: 04 - Palaeobiology
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume: 114
Page Range: pp. 7750-7752
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2019 17:16
Last Modified: 21 Nov 2019 13:40
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/4576

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