Ancient DNA reveals elephant birds and kiwi are sister taxa and clarifies ratite bird evolution

  title={Ancient DNA reveals elephant birds and kiwi are sister taxa and clarifies ratite bird evolution},
  author={Kieren J Mitchell and Bastien Llamas and Julien Soubrier and Nicolas J Rawlence and Trevor H Worthy and Jamie Wood and Michael S Y Lee and Alan Cooper},
The evolution of the ratite birds has been widely attributed to vicariant speciation, driven by the Cretaceous breakup of the supercontinent Gondwana. The early isolation of Africa and Madagascar implies that the ostrich and extinct Madagascan elephant birds (Aepyornithidae) should be the oldest ratite lineages. We sequenced the mitochondrial genomes of two elephant birds and performed phylogenetic analyses, which revealed that these birds are the closest relatives of the New Zealand kiwi and… CONTINUE READING
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