Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists reveal new picture in the evolution of flightless birds

Date:
May 13, 2014
Source:
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press)
Summary:
Because of their far-flung geography and colorful examples including the African ostrich, Australian emu, New Zealand kiwi and long lost giants such as the New Zealand moa, researchers have examined a fascinating part in the story of the avian tree of life: flightless birds, or ratites.

Emu. Scientists have examined a fascinating part in the story of the avian tree of life: flightless birds or ratites.
Credit: Copyright Michele Hogan

Because of their far-flung geography and colorful examples including the African ostrich, Australian emu, New Zealand kiwi and long lost giants such as the New Zealand moa, Baker, et. al. have examined a fascinating part in the story of the avian tree of life: flightless birds, or ratites.

Related Articles


Straddling the middle ground is the South American tinamous which can fly, and thus were not grouped within the flightless ratites but rather considered as close relatives according to the shared structure of their palate bones. In contrast, recent molecular studies have suggested they may be more closely related to the extinct moa within the ratites.

To help pin down the evolutionary debate, Baker's research team utilized ancient moa DNA (from the extinct little bush moa) along with DNA from emus and other flightless birds to assemble the largest dataset to date (1448 genetic loci and 8 corroborating rare genomic events).

Their results, published in the advanced online edition of Molecular Biology and Evolution, found convincing evidence that tinamous are indeed most closely related to the wingless extinct moa, and thus flight has been lost independently in ratite lineages. They showed that morphological characters of ratites interpreted on their molecular tree are mostly convergent, evolving independently, probably as an adaptation to a cursorial, "on-the-run" lifestyle.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). "Scientists reveal new picture in the evolution of flightless birds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513175207.htm>.
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). (2014, May 13). Scientists reveal new picture in the evolution of flightless birds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513175207.htm
Molecular Biology and Evolution (Oxford University Press). "Scientists reveal new picture in the evolution of flightless birds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140513175207.htm (accessed January 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

Dogs Bring on So Many Different Emotions in Their Human Best Friends

RightThisMinute (Jan. 28, 2015) From new-puppy happy tears to helpful-grocery-carrying-dog laughter, our four-legged best friends can make us feel the entire spectrum of emotions. Video provided by RightThisMinute
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Scientists Say Earliest Snakes Lived Alongside The Dinosaurs

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Wrongly categorized as lizard fossils, snake fossils now show the reptile could have developed earlier than we thought — 70 million years earlier. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Sugary Drinks May Cause Early Puberty In Girls, Study Says

Newsy (Jan. 28, 2015) Harvard researchers found that girls who consumed more than 1.5 sugary drinks a day had their first period earlier than those who drank less. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Hold Emergency Meeting to Save Endangered Rhinos

Scientists Hold Emergency Meeting to Save Endangered Rhinos

AFP (Jan. 28, 2015) Conservationists and scientists hold talks in Kenya to come up with a last ditch plan to save the northern white rhinoceros from extinction. Duration: 01:06 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins