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Re: Mesozoic roots of parrots and passerine birds

Hmmm.... does anyone truly believe that falcons are more closely
related to parrots and songbirds than to buzzards and hawks?



On Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 7:50 PM,  <bh480@scn.org> wrote:
> From: Ben Creisler
> bh480@scn.org
> 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
> doi:10.1038/ncomms1448
> http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v2/n8/full/ncomms1448
> .html
> 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.