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DNA analysis sheds light on early evolution of birds

The massive meteor strike that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago may have sparked a rapid evolution of bird species over just a few million years. The few bird lineages that survived the extinction bottleneck gave rise to stunning diversity, resulting in the more than 10,000 species alive today.

Now, a new study published in Nature provides the clearest look yet at those early evolutionary branches as birds emerged as a dominant life form on the planet—relationships that have stumped scientists since the dawn of paleontology.



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