Major shake-up of bird phylogeny

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Glend

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Jun 26, 2008, 2:54:43 PM6/26/08
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Seven of the 10 findings (I don't want to abuse fair use):

1. Hummingbirds, colorful daytime birds, evolved from drab nocturnal
birds called nightjars.

2. Perching birds (the largest order of living birds, including
cardinals, orioles, crows, ravens, jays, swallows, sparrows, kinglets,
weavers, chickadees, nuthatches and wrens) are closely related to
parrots and falcons.

3. Flamingos and some other aquatic birds, such as grebes (freshwater
diving birds) and tropicbirds (white, swift-flying ocean birds), did
not evolve from waterbirds. This suggests that birds have adapted to
life on water multiple times.

4. Woodpeckers, hawks, owls and hornbills look very different, but
they are all closely related to perching birds.

5. Vultures, previously thought to be closely related to storks, are
actually members of a group called land birds.

6. Falcons are not closely related to hawks and eagles, as was
previously thought.

7. Shorebirds are not the most primitive birds (or most basal, or at
base of evolutionary tree, as biologists prefer to say), which refutes
the widely held view that they gave rise to all modern birds.

http://www.livescience.com/animals/080626-bird-tree.html

As usual, DNA appears to give the clearest picture of evolution, due
to the problems of convergent adaptation.

And, oh yeah, we still need a design explanation for convergent
phenotypes which are based on quite divergent genotypes. Funny how
unintelligently "the designer" copies genes and morphologies for
purposes not well-suited for these morphologies, and then goes ahead
and makes fairly similar body types by utilizing unrelated genes in
other cases.

No rhyme nor reason to it. It's almost as if life had to adapt what
it inherited, rather than getting to intelligently pick and choose
precursors, or even more intelligently, to design from first
principles.

Anyhow, mostly it's just interesting to see a more trustworthy avian
phylogenetic tree. I only repeat jeers at the absurdity of thinking
that it's due to intelligence because the IDiots have never answered
the questions raised by phylogenies, and they never will.

Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

John Harshman

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Jun 26, 2008, 4:08:03 PM6/26/08
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Glend wrote:
> Seven of the 10 findings (I don't want to abuse fair use):
>
> 1. Hummingbirds, colorful daytime birds, evolved from drab nocturnal
> birds called nightjars.

Not really, but the common ancestor probably was crepuscular.

> 2. Perching birds (the largest order of living birds, including
> cardinals, orioles, crows, ravens, jays, swallows, sparrows, kinglets,
> weavers, chickadees, nuthatches and wrens) are closely related to
> parrots and falcons.
>
> 3. Flamingos and some other aquatic birds, such as grebes (freshwater
> diving birds) and tropicbirds (white, swift-flying ocean birds), did
> not evolve from waterbirds. This suggests that birds have adapted to
> life on water multiple times.

This was already clear. It's just more clear. The term "water birds"
here actually applies to a particular clade we happen to call by that
name that includes penguins (the best birds), pelicans, albatrosses,
egrets, and some others. But not cranes, rails, or the ones mentioned
above. And of course not ducks.

> 4. Woodpeckers, hawks, owls and hornbills look very different, but
> they are all closely related to perching birds.

Depends on what you mean by "closely". Presumably you're referring to
the "land bird" clade.

> 5. Vultures, previously thought to be closely related to storks, are
> actually members of a group called land birds.

Previously thought by a few people, but this hasn't been considered
particularly likely for some time. They're closest to the hawks.

> 6. Falcons are not closely related to hawks and eagles, as was
> previously thought.
>
> 7. Shorebirds are not the most primitive birds (or most basal, or at
> base of evolutionary tree, as biologists prefer to say), which refutes
> the widely held view that they gave rise to all modern birds.

This too was never a very widely held belief. It was the property of
Alan Feduccia and pretty much nobody else.

A couple other things the news piece doesn't mention that I think are
equally cool:

11. The traditional order Gruiformes has been divided up into 7 pieces,
scattered throughout the tree of birds.

12. The traditional order Piciformes falls entirely within the
traditional order Coraciiformes.

> http://www.livescience.com/animals/080626-bird-tree.html

Hey. This wasn't supposed to be published until tomorrow. Somebody
jumped the gun, and Science will be mad if they find out. However, since
you asked, the article in question is Hackett, S. J., R. T. Kimball, S.
Reddy, R. C. K. Bowie, E. L. Braun, M. J. Braun, J. L. Chojnowski, W. A.
Cox, K.-L. Han, J. Harshman, C. J. Huddleston, B. D. Marks, K. J.
Miglia, W. A. Moore, F. H. Sheldon, D. W. Steadman, C. C. Witt, and T.
Yuri. 2008. A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary
history. Science (in press).

And this part is just plain silly: "The results of this five-year study
are so broad that the scientific names of dozens of birds will have to
be changed in biology textbooks and birdwatchers' field guides."

Not true at all. Not a single species name has to be changed, only the
higher-level classifications. There are plenty of studies around that
will require such changes, but this isn't one of them.

> As usual, DNA appears to give the clearest picture of evolution, due
> to the problems of convergent adaptation.
>
> And, oh yeah, we still need a design explanation for convergent
> phenotypes which are based on quite divergent genotypes. Funny how
> unintelligently "the designer" copies genes and morphologies for
> purposes not well-suited for these morphologies, and then goes ahead
> and makes fairly similar body types by utilizing unrelated genes in
> other cases.
>
> No rhyme nor reason to it. It's almost as if life had to adapt what
> it inherited, rather than getting to intelligently pick and choose
> precursors, or even more intelligently, to design from first
> principles.
>
> Anyhow, mostly it's just interesting to see a more trustworthy avian
> phylogenetic tree. I only repeat jeers at the absurdity of thinking
> that it's due to intelligence because the IDiots have never answered
> the questions raised by phylogenies, and they never will.

When the article actually is published, I will have the ToLWeb bird
pages reorganized within a day. They're just waiting for me to press the
button. Which Science demands I should not do before actual publication.

Augray

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Jun 26, 2008, 4:26:15 PM6/26/08
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On Thu, 26 Jun 2008 13:08:03 -0700, John Harshman
<jharshman....@pacbell.net> wrote in
<DGS8k.4889$LG4....@nlpi065.nbdc.sbc.com> :

>Glend wrote:

[snip]

>> http://www.livescience.com/animals/080626-bird-tree.html
>
>Hey. This wasn't supposed to be published until tomorrow. Somebody
>jumped the gun, and Science will be mad if they find out. However, since
>you asked, the article in question is Hackett, S. J., R. T. Kimball, S.
>Reddy, R. C. K. Bowie, E. L. Braun, M. J. Braun, J. L. Chojnowski, W. A.
>Cox, K.-L. Han, J. Harshman,

Woo Hoo!

Um, I mean, congratulations.


>C. J. Huddleston, B. D. Marks, K. J.
>Miglia, W. A. Moore, F. H. Sheldon, D. W. Steadman, C. C. Witt, and T.
>Yuri. 2008. A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary
>history. Science (in press).

[snip]

Glend

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Jun 26, 2008, 4:43:22 PM6/26/08
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On Jun 26, 1:08 pm, John Harshman <jharshman.diespam...@pacbell.net>
wrote:
> button. Which Science demands I should not do before actual publication.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Well that all helps. I'll have to check your (et al.) paper and
ToLWeb stuff out.

But anyway, there are several articles out there about your paper, not
just this one. Maybe it's all due to one breach of the embargo.
Seems likely enough.

Glen Davidson
http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7


John Harshman

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Jun 26, 2008, 4:49:02 PM6/26/08
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Glend wrote:

> Well that all helps. I'll have to check your (et al.) paper and
> ToLWeb stuff out.
>
> But anyway, there are several articles out there about your paper, not
> just this one. Maybe it's all due to one breach of the embargo.
> Seems likely enough.

Slight embarrassment here. Checking the terms of the embargo, I find it
gets lifted the day before publication, i.e. at 2 PM EDT today. So I was
bad claiming that someone else had been bad.

You still can't see the paper itself, but I found out the page numbers:
volume 320, pages 1763-1768. Tomorrow at this time, it's up on the
Science web site, for anyone with a subscription.

Friar Broccoli

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Jun 26, 2008, 5:41:43 PM6/26/08
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On Jun 26, 4:08 pm, John Harshman <jharshman.diespam...@pacbell.net>
wrote:

> >http://www.livescience.com/animals/080626-bird-tree.html


>
> Hey. This wasn't supposed to be published until tomorrow. Somebody
> jumped the gun, and Science will be mad if they find out. However, since
> you asked, the article in question is Hackett, S. J., R. T. Kimball, S.
> Reddy, R. C. K. Bowie, E. L. Braun, M. J. Braun, J. L. Chojnowski, W. A.
> Cox, K.-L. Han, J. Harshman, C. J. Huddleston, B. D. Marks, K. J.
> Miglia, W. A. Moore, F. H. Sheldon, D. W. Steadman, C. C. Witt, and T.
> Yuri. 2008. A phylogenomic study of birds reveals their evolutionary
> history. Science (in press).

My congratulations too.

Llanzlan Klazmon

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Jun 26, 2008, 11:51:23 PM6/26/08
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On Jun 27, 8:08 am, John Harshman <jharshman.diespam...@pacbell.net>
wrote:

Impressive fortitude. There's no way I could resist pressing that
button in such a case ;-)


John Harshman

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Jun 27, 2008, 1:30:37 AM6/27/08
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It's not actually a button, but I have figuratively pressed it already.
Being a figurative button, pressing it hasn't had a noticeable effect
yet. Maybe tomorrow.

John Vreeland

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Jun 27, 2008, 6:07:10 AM6/27/08
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Actually, I was reading it online a couple of hours after you posted
this.

Mesites are closely related to pigeons?

John Harshman

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Jun 27, 2008, 10:41:21 AM6/27/08
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Maybe. There's actually very little support for that part of the tree.

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