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Ancient DNA reveals elephant birds and kiwi are sister taxa and clarifies ratite bird evolution
TLDR
It is suggested that convergence toward gigantism and flightlessness was facilitated by early Tertiary expansion into the diurnal herbivory niche after the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Molecular phylogeny, biogeography, and habitat preference evolution of marsupials.
TLDR
A pattern of mesic-adapted lineages evolving to use more arid and open habitats, which is broadly consistent with regional climate and environmental change is found, however, contrary to the general trend, several lineages subsequently appear to have reverted from drier to more mesic habitats.
Ancient mitochondrial genome reveals unsuspected taxonomic affinity of the extinct Chatham duck (Pachyanas chathamica) and resolves divergence times for New Zealand and sub-Antarctic brown teals.
TLDR
Molecular analyses convincingly demonstrate that the Chatham duck is the most basal member of a sub-clade comprising the New Zealand and sub-Antarctic brown teals and reveals that it was a phenotypically-divergent species within the genus Anas (Anatini), further supported by a re-examination of osteological characters.
Ancient mitochondrial genomes clarify the evolutionary history of New Zealand's enigmatic acanthisittid wrens.
TLDR
Molecular dating analyses reveal that the stout-legged wrens (Pachyplichas) diverged relatively recently from a more gracile (Xenicus-like) ancestor, and suggest a possible Early Oligocene origin of the basal Lyall's wren (Traversia) lineage, which would imply that Acanthisittidae survived theOligocene marine inundation of New Zealand and therefore that the inundation was not complete.
Early cave art and ancient DNA record the origin of European bison
TLDR
This work uses complete ancient mitochondrial genomes and genome-wide nuclear DNA surveys to reveal that the wisent is the product of hybridization between the extinct steppe bison and ancestors of modern cattle and contains up to 10% aurochs genomic ancestry.
Late pleistocene Australian marsupial DNA clarifies the affinities of extinct megafaunal kangaroos and wallabies.
TLDR
Cross-species DNA capture is applied to fossils from relatively high latitude, high altitude caves in Tasmania to retrieve mitochondrial sequences from two extinct megafaunal macropodid species and Protemnodon emerges as a close relative of Macropus (large living kangaroos), a position not supported by recent morphological phylogenetic analyses.
Evolution and extinction of the giant rhinoceros Elasmotherium sibiricum sheds light on late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions
TLDR
It is shown that the rhinoceros Elasmotherium sibiricum survived in Eastern Europe and Central Asia until at least 39,000 years ago, corroborating a wave of megafaunal turnover before the Last Glacial Maximum in Eurasia, in addition to the better-known late-glacial event.
Ancient DNA from the extinct South American giant glyptodont Doedicurus sp. (Xenarthra: Glyptodontidae) reveals that glyptodonts evolved from Eocene armadillos
TLDR
The osteological novelties of glyptodonts and their specialization for grazing appear to have evolved rapidly during the Late Eocene to Early Miocene, coincident with global temperature decreases and a shift from wet closed forest towards drier open woodland and grassland across much of South America.
Genome of the Tasmanian tiger provides insights into the evolution and demography of an extinct marsupial carnivore
TLDR
Comparative genomic analyses demonstrated that amino acid homoplasies between the thylacine and canids are largely consistent with neutral evolution, and support models of adaptive convergence driven primarily by cis-regulatory evolution.
Comment on “Whole-genome analyses resolve early branches in the tree of life of modern birds”
TLDR
It is demonstrated that the conclusion that most modern bird orders diverged just after the mass extinction event at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary is invalid because it results from the use of a single inappropriate maximum bound.
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