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Deep avian evolutionary relationships have been difficult to resolve as a result of a putative explosive radiation. Our study examined approximately 32 kilobases of aligned nuclear DNA sequences from 19 independent loci for 169 species, representing all major extant groups, and recovered a robust phylogeny from a genome-wide signal supported by multiple(More)
Hummingbirds are an important model system in avian biology, but to date the group has been the subject of remarkably few phylogenetic investigations. Here we present partitioned Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic analyses for 151 of approximately 330 species of hummingbirds and 12 outgroup taxa based on two protein-coding mitochondrial genes (ND2(More)
Theoretical and empirical studies of life history aim to account for resource allocation to the different components of fitness: survival, growth, and reproduction. The pioneering evolutionary ecologist David Lack [(1968) Ecological Adaptations for Breeding in Birds (Methuen and Co., London)] suggested that reproductive output in birds reflects adaptation(More)
The taxonomy of lice (Insecta: Phthiraptera) is often heavily influenced by host taxonomy. The use of host information to define genera of avian lice in the widespread Degeeriella complex has been prevalent but has created problems. Several workers have suggested that genera defined on the basis of host association are not monophyletic. We used sequences of(More)
The tendency for flying organisms to possess small genomes has been interpreted as evidence of natural selection acting on the physical size of the genome. Nonetheless, the flight-genome link and its mechanistic basis have yet to be well established by comparative studies within a volant clade. Is there a particular functional aspect of flight such as brisk(More)
The tempo of species diversification in large clades can reveal fundamental evolutionary mechanisms that operate on large temporal and spatial scales. Hummingbirds have radiated into a diverse assemblage of specialized nectarivores comprising 338 species, but their evolutionary history has not, until now, been comprehensively explored. We studied(More)
Ratites (ostriches, emus, rheas, cassowaries, and kiwis) are large, flightless birds that have long fascinated biologists. Their current distribution on isolated southern land masses is believed to reflect the breakup of the paleocontinent of Gondwana. The prevailing view is that ratites are monophyletic, with the flighted tinamous as their sister group,(More)
Insertion/deletion (indel) mutations, which are represented by gaps in multiple sequence alignments, have been used to examine phylogenetic hypotheses for some time. However, most analyses combine gap data with the nucleotide sequences in which they are embedded, probably because most phylogenetic datasets include few gap characters. Here, we report(More)
Animals that sustain high levels of aerobic activity under hypoxic conditions (e.g., birds that fly at high altitude) face the physiological challenge of jointly optimizing blood-O2 affinity for O2 loading in the pulmonary circulation and O2 unloading in the systemic circulation. At high altitude, this challenge is especially acute for small endotherms like(More)