Navigation Links
Bird tree tells new tale of evolution
Date:11/1/2012

Using the world's first family tree linking every known bird species, scientists, including two at Simon Fraser University, have discovered that birds appear to be accelerating their rate of evolution. The finding is contrary to the scientists' expectations.

They spent five years creating their tree, using millions of years worth of fossil data stretching back to the Age of the Dinosaurs, DNA data and supercomputers. They then mapped where on Earth and when in history birds' diversification took place.

A new paper in the journal Nature contains the scientists' profile of how 9,993 bird species currently alive globally made it to where they are today. Based on previous studies, the researchers expected to see bird speciation slowing down through time.

But SFU biologist Arne Mooers, Jeff Joy, a postdoctoral fellow in his lab, and researchers at Yale University, University of Sheffield and University of Tasmania have discovered birds' speciation rate is increasing, not declining.

"Perhaps birds are special," theorizes Mooers. "Maybe they're so good at getting around they can escape local competition from relatives and start anew elsewhere, producing bursts of new species at different times and in different parts of the globe."

The authors have also discovered that birds' speciation rate doesn't drop off the further they are from the equator. Since three quarters of all birds are found near the equator, it was expected that speciation there would be more common.

"We know the tropical biome has been shrinking during the last 15 million years," says Joy. "Perhaps, just as bushtits bunch together closely at night, bird species have clustered together in the tropics as their habitat shrunk."

"We need to think a lot more about how Earth's changing climate has led to current distributions," says Mooers. "It's a lovely conundrum."

Unfortunately, birds' rosy speciation history doesn't nullify the fact that they can't outfly their growing human-induced rate of extinction. Researchers estimate that birds have recently been proliferating at a rate of about one new bird species every 700 years. Meanwhile, they estimate birds' recent human-caused extinction rate to be about 300 times higher.

Backgrounder: Other highlights of new bird species study

The main geographic differences in diversification rate are east west hemispheric rather than latitudinal.

Avian assemblages in Australia, Southeast Asia, Africa and Madagascar have low averages of diversification compared to the global mean. These regions also harbor substantially fewer than expected of the 25 per cent of species with the highest diversification rate.

High diversification rates and large relative prevalence of top-diversification-rate species are found throughout higher latitudinal North America, parts of north Asia and southwest South America. These are the main breeding areas of several of the rapidly radiating bird species.


'/>"/>

Contact: Carol Thorbes
cthorbes@sfu.ca
778-782-3035
Simon Fraser University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Genes of Africas Khoe-San Peoples Give Clues to Human Evolution
2. An open platform revolutionizes biomedical-image processing
3. New Queens spin-in company to revolutionize cancer detection
4. Evolutionary information improves discovery of mutations associated with diseases
5. Oxford University Press launches Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
6. Vygone Presents a Revolutionary Electro Waveform Device to Help Treat Molluscum Contagiosum Lesions
7. A Revolutionary Dietary Paradigm: New Cookbook Features A SOS-free (Salt, Oil, Sugar ) Diet That Delivers the Optimal Food Plan for Renewing Health
8. Losing money, emotions and evolution
9. Evolution May Explain Runners High, Study Says
10. New Clues to the Evolution of the Human Brain
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/29/2016)... ... May 29, 2016 , ... "With 30 unique self-animating web themed intros ... style of their project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. ... exclusively for use in Final Cut Pro X. Pixel Film Studios’ minimalistic titles allow ...
(Date:5/28/2016)... ... ... year and a half of planning the Multiple Pathways of Recovery Conference , CCAR ... Conference was held May 2 -4, 2016 at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa ... the many pathways individuals use to get into and sustain their recovery. Pathways of ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Two director-level employees of Horizon Blue Cross Blue ... Industry (TWIN) 2016 honorees. The award recognizes businesswomen who excel in their fields ... Director of the MLTSS (Managed Long-Term Services and Supports) Program at Horizon NJ Health ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... May 27, 2016 , ... ... the factors of a stroke, which we as a society can control and change. ... a stroke occurs nearly every 40 seconds within the United States. Plus, with an ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... May 27, 2016 , ... Aimed at nurses and ... interest stories, courtesy of leaders in the nursing and health care industry. It ... leading advocates and associations—namely Jones & Bartlett Learning. , Jones & Bartlett Learning ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... The healthcare sector is large ... all falling under its umbrella.  A rather overlooked sector ... talked about, these healthcare companies are still trying to ... is by far the largest consumer of the healthcare ... ADMD), Nutranomics Inc. (OTC: NNRX), KollagenX Corp. (OTCQB: KGNX), ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... 2016   Change Healthcare , a ... solutions and technology-enabled services designed to enable ... a strategic channel partnership with SourceMed, the ... and revenue cycle management services that empower ... clinics to optimize revenue, operational efficiency and ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... Deutschland und GERMANTOWN, Maryland , ... Zusammenarbeit mit Therawis bedient dringenden ...   QIAGEN N.V. (NASDAQ: ... bekannt, eine Lizenz- und Entwicklungsvereinbarung mit Therawis Diagnostics ... die Onkologie eingegangen zu sein. Ein erstes Projekt ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: