That cardinal singing his heart out in your backyard has ancestors that left the neighborhood of Australia 45 million years ago. A comprehensive study of DNA from songbirds and their relatives shows that these birds, which account for almost half of all bird species, did not originate in Eurasia, as previously thought. Instead, their ancestors escaped from a relatively small area--Australasia (Australia, New Zealand and nearby islands) and New Guinea--about 45 million years ago and went on to populate every other continent save Antarctica. The study, led by Keith Barker of the University of Minnesotas Bell Museum of Natural History, will be published online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The birds in question belong to the group called Passeriformes, or perching birds. It includes all songbirds, such as robins, cardinals, blackbirds, house sparrows, house finches and crows. The group is further divided into birds that must learn their songs "true songbirds") and those with the innate ability to sing the "correct" song. True songbirds account for 4,580 of the 6,000 known Passeriformes species. (There is a total of 9,702 known species of birds.) The true songbirds are currently divided into two groups: Passerida (3,477 species, among them many familiar backyard species) and Corvida (1,103 species, including crows and ravens).
The two groups of true songbirds were thought to have separate origins. The Corvida originated in Australasia, but the Passerida were thought to have arisen separately, in Eurasia. The Passerida then supposedly spread from Eurasia to Africa, Australasia and the New World. But in examining the DNA sequences of two genes in all but one family (a closely related group, such as "crows and jays" or "warblers") of passerine birds, Barker and his colleagues made a startling discovery.
Deane Morrison | EurekAlert!
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences