Bird genomes untangle branches of avian family tree

Birds, the only surviving descendants of dinosaurs, have one of the most fascinating — and perplexing — family trees in the animal kingdom. To sort it out, an international collaboration known as the Avian Phylogenomics Project has sequenced the genomes of dozens of different bird species, representing all the orders in the bird family. Even with a glut of new data, however, many questions remain about the branches of the avian family tree.


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Mary Caperton Morton

Mary Caperton Morton

Morton ( is a freelance science and travel writer based in Big Sky, Mont., and an EARTH roving correspondent.  

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 - 06:00

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