new bird phylogeny

Subject: new bird phylogeny
From: Andrew Taylor <>
Date: Fri, 27 Jun 2008 17:10:41 +1000
I've appended the abstract of a new paper in Science.  Unfortunately its
not publicly available.  Although you might be able to see their
phylogentic tree here:

Among the more interesting results are parrots are placed as a sister-taxa
to passerines, falcons split from other raptors and placed next to
parrots/passerines and a sister relationship between grebes & flamingos.

I don't understand how some claims can be supported - tinamous having
a flightless ancestor and hummingbirds/swifts having a nocturnal ancestor.
but the paper is pretty terse.


A Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Their Evolutionary History
Hackett et al.

"Deep avian evolutionary relationships have been difficult to resolve as a
result of a putative explosive radiation. Our study examined ~32 kilobases
of aligned nuclear DNA sequences from 19 independent loci for 169 species,
representing all major extant groups, and recovered a robust phylogeny
from a genome-wide signal supported by multiple analytical methods. We
documented well-supported, previously unrecognized interordinal
relationships (such as a sister relationship between passerines and
parrots) and corroborated previously contentious groupings (such as
flamingos and grebes). Our conclusions challenge current classifications
and alter our understanding of trait evolution; for example, some diurnal
birds evolved from nocturnal ancestors. Our results provide a valuable
resource for phylogenetic and comparative studies in birds."

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