[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
Mesozoic roots of parrots and passerine birds
From: Ben Creisler
A new paper available for free that may interest the DML:
Alexander Suh, Martin Paus, Martin Kiefmann, Gennady
Churakov, Franziska Anni Franke, Jürgen Brosius, Jan Ole
Kriegs & Jürgen Schmitz (2011)
Mesozoic retroposons reveal parrots as the closest living
relatives of passerine birds.
Nature Communications 2: 443
The relationships of passerines (such as the well-studied
zebra finch) with non-passerine birds is one of the great
enigmas of avian phylogenetic research, because decades
of extensive morphological and molecular studies yielded
highly inconsistent results between and within data sets.
Here we show the first application of the virtually
homoplasy-free retroposon insertions to this controversy.
Our study examined ~200,000 retroposon-containing loci
from various avian genomes and retrieved 51 markers
resolving early bird phylogeny. Among these, we obtained
statistically significant evidence that parrots are the
closest and falcons the second-closest relatives of
passerines, together constituting the Psittacopasserae
and the Eufalconimorphae, respectively. Our new and
robust phylogenetic framework has substantial
implications for the interpretation of various
conclusions drawn from passerines as model organisms.
This includes insights of relevance to human
neuroscience, as vocal learning (that is, birdsong)
probably evolved in the psittacopasseran ancestor, >30
million years earlier than previously assumed.