New research shows bird species diversified before dinosaurs went extinct

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An international team of researchers finds evidence that bird species began to diversify long before dinosaurs went extinct

New research shows bird species diversified before dinosaurs went extinct

An international team of researchers analyzed the genomes of hundreds of bird species and found evidence that Neoaves' – which include 95% of all modern birds – began diversifying long before the asteroid hit. This challenges the previously held belief that the asteroid that hit Earth millions of years ago not only killed off non-avian dinosaurs but also set Neoaves on a major differentiation path. The research was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To fill a gap in this field, the researchers took samples from 118 species and analyzed their genomes as part of their study. They looked at data from 25,460 genetic loci spread across four DNA classes and used them to create a family tree.

The team found that Neoaves had a common ancestor that lived around 130 million years ago and that the two main branches of Neoaves split early in their history, with one branch eventually representing land birds and the other representing water birds.

Source: Newsroom

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