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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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
BACKGROUND Microinversions are cytologically undetectable inversions of DNA sequences that accumulate slowly in genomes. Like many other rare genomic changes (RGCs), microinversions are thought to be virtually homoplasy-free evolutionary characters, suggesting that they may be very useful for difficult phylogenetic problems such as the avian tree of life.(More)
It has often been suggested that the genome sizes of birds are constrained relative to other tetrapods owing to the high metabolic demands of powered flight and the link between nuclear DNA content and red blood cell size. This hypothesis predicts that hummingbirds, which engage in energy-intensive hovering flight, will display especially constrained(More)
In air-breathing vertebrates, the physiologically optimal blood-O2 affinity is jointly determined by the prevailing partial pressure of atmospheric O2, the efficacy of pulmonary O2 transfer, and internal metabolic demands. Consequently, genetic variation in the oxygenation properties of hemoglobin (Hb) may be subject to spatially varying selection in(More)