Bird Classification System Revolutionized by International Team

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A team of researchers, spearheaded by Chinese zoologists from Zhejiang University, has made significant strides in revolutionizing the system of bird classification by conducting an in-depth analysis of the genomes of 363 bird species, covering 92 percent of all extant families. This groundbreaking study, published in the prestigious journal Nature, has led to a comprehensive reevaluation of the evolutionary history of birds and their relationships among main avian lineages.

The findings of this study have shed light on the intricate evolutionary history of birds, proposing a new classification system for the Neoaves group, which encompasses the vast majority of bird species. The newly identified groups within Neoaves - Mirandornithes, Columbaves, Telluraves, and the newly proposed Elementaves - aim to provide a clearer understanding of the diverse bird species, such as flamingos, pigeons, parrots, eagles, and several others. Additionally, the researchers confirmed the significant impact of a mass extinction event about 66 million years ago that wiped out all non-avian dinosaurs, allowing birds to rapidly diversify and thrive across various ecological niches.

Zhang Guojie, a prominent figure from Zhejiang University, expressed the importance of this research in challenging traditional views on bird evolution and providing a solid foundation for mapping the evolutionary history of all bird species. This study, which is part of the Bird 10,000 Genomes Project, signifies a global effort to understand and document the genetic makeup of approximately 10,500 existing bird species, promising far-reaching implications for ornithological research and biodiversity studies.

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May 21, 2023 | 05:09