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 March 4, 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 March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Australian Museum Shares Terrifying Goblin Shark With the World

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) The Australian Museum has taken in its fourth-ever goblin shark, a rare fish with an electricity-sensing snout and &apos;alien-like&apos; jaw. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) takes a look. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Prince William Calls for Unified Effort Against Illegal Wildlife Trade

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Mar. 4, 2015) Britain&apos;s Prince William pledges to unite against illegal wildlife trade on the final day of his visit to China. Rough cut - no reporter narration Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

Rare Goblin Shark Found in Australia

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) A goblin shark, a rare sea creature described as an &apos;alien of the deep&apos; is found off Australia and delivered to the Australian Museum in Sydney. Duration: 01:25 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kenya President Sets Fire to 15 Tonnes of Elephant Ivory

Kenya President Sets Fire to 15 Tonnes of Elephant Ivory

AFP (Mar. 3, 2015) Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta set fire to a giant pile of 15 tonnes of elephant ivory Tuesday, vowing to destroy the country&apos;s entire stockpile of illegal tusks by the year&apos;s end. 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