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Origin and diversification of birds

A new paper that draws on both paleontology and phylogenomics to
summarize the current state of knowledge about avian evolution:

Brusatte SL, O'Connor JK, Jarvis ED 2015 The origin and
diversification of birds. Curr Biol 25(19): R888–98

Birds are one of the most recognizable and diverse groups of modern
vertebrates. Over the past two decades, a wealth of new fossil
discoveries and phylogenetic and macroevolutionary studies has
transformed our understanding of how birds originated and became so
successful. Birds evolved from theropod dinosaurs during the Jurassic
(around 165–150 million years ago) and their classic small,
lightweight, feathered, and winged body plan was pieced together
gradually over tens of millions of years of evolution rather than in
one burst of innovation. Early birds diversified throughout the
Jurassic and Cretaceous, becoming capable fliers with supercharged
growth rates, but were decimated at the end-Cretaceous extinction
alongside their close dinosaurian relatives. After the mass
extinction, modern birds (members of the avian crown group)
explosively diversified, culminating in more than 10,000 species
distributed worldwide today.

David Černý