Explosive Evolution in Tertiary Birds and Mammals

  title={Explosive Evolution in Tertiary Birds and Mammals},
  author={Alan Feduccia},
  pages={637 - 638}
The traditional view of avian evolution over the past century is that of sluggish gradualism, in which many living orders of birds are thought to have originated from the mid-Cretaceous or so (1), and, passing unblemished past the Cretaceous-Tertiary (KT) boundary, slowly diversified into the present avian morphological landscape. Thomas Huxley in 1867, for example, viewed the living ratites, such as ostriches and their allies, as "waifs and strays" of the primeval radiation. As a consequence… 
The Origin and Diversification of Birds
Continental breakup and the ordinal diversification of birds and mammals
THE classical hypothesis for the diversification of birds and mammals proposes that most of the orders diverged rapidly in adaptive radiations after the Cretaceous/Tertiary (K/T) extinction event 65
Mass Survival of Birds Across the Cretaceous- Tertiary Boundary: Molecular Evidence
Data for several other terrestrial vertebrate groups indicate a similar pattern of survival and, taken together, favor incremental changes during a Cretaceous diversification of birds and mammals rather than an explosive radiation in the Early Tertiary.
Avian evolution, Gondwana biogeography and the Cretaceous–Tertiary mass extinction event
  • J. Cracraft
  • Environmental Science, Geography
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 2001
The temporal history of the neornithines can be inferred from fossil taxa and the ages of vicariance events, and along with their biogeographical patterns, leads to the conclusion that neORNithines arose in Gondwanaprior to the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction event.
Tempo and mode of modern bird evolution observed with large-scale taxonomic sampling
This study uses both molecules (DNA hybridization and DNA sequence) and fossils to study a large set of avian taxa and shows that the Cretaceous–Tertiary transition witnessed a major ordinal diversification within extant birds.
Multiple lineages of lice pass through the K–Pg boundary
Using molecular dating techniques, it is demonstrated that the major louse suborders began to radiate before the K–Pg boundary, lending support to a Cretaceous diversification of many modern bird and mammal lineages.
Evolution and history of the western Palaearctic avifauna.
The evolutionary radiation of modern birds: systematics and patterns of diversification
  • G. Dyke
  • Environmental Science, Geography
  • 2001
Fossils from the early Tertiary provide the first opportunity to document the pattern of the evolutionary radiation of the modern birds and suggest that only some of the ‘more basal’ clades of modern birds were, most likely, present during the Mesozoic Era.
Evolution, biogeography, and patterns of diversification in passerine birds
This paper summarizes and discusses the many new insights into passerine evolution gained from an increased general interest in avian evolution among biologists, and particularly from the extensive


Ostrich ancestors found in the Northern Hemisphere suggest new hypothesis of ratite origins
Newly studied fossils suggest that the ancestors of ostriches are instead among a group of North American and European birds, the ‘Lithornis-cohort’, that had the potential of flight and from which the kiwis may have arisen separately.
New subclass of birds from the Cretaceous of South America
Current classification of birds recognizes three subclasses which are morphologically distinct: the Archaeornithes for Archaeopteryx, the Odontornithes for the Hesperornithiformes and the
Unusual Early Cretaceous birds from Spain
A new Spanish fossil bird that lacks the skull is reported, which presents a combination of derived (strut-like coracoids, pygostyle) and primitive (pelvic girdle, sacrum, hind limb) character states.
The origin and early diversification of birds
Numerical cladistic analysis of 73 cranial and postcranial characters has resulted in a highly corroborated hypothesis describing the phylogenetic pattern of early avian evolution. Using “non-avian
The origin and evolution of birds
Ornithologist and evolutionary biologist Alan Feduccia, author of "Age of Birds," here draws on fossil evidence and studies of the structure and biochemistry of living birds to present knowledge and data on avian evolution and propose a model of this evolutionary process.
Paleognathous Carinate Birds from the Early Tertiary of North America
Fossils newly discovered in the Paleocene and early Eocene of western North America document some of the oldest birds known from nearly complete skeletons. These were medium-sized carinates with
New whale from the Eocene of Pakistan and the origin of cetacean swimming
This is the oldest fossil whale described from deep-neritic shelf deposits, and it shows that tail swimming evolved early in the history of cetaceans.
Phylogeny of the cranes (Aves: Gruidae) as deduced from DNA-DNA hybridization and albumin micro-complement fixation analyses
It is concluded that Balearica and Grus separated between 10.0 and 6.2 MYBP (million years before present), as determined from MC'F and electrophoretic data, which is consistent with fossil evidence for cranes.
Phylogenetic relationships among cranes (Gruiformes: Gruidae) based on DNA hybridization
A DNA-DNA hybridization method was used to generate more than 1,200 pairwise comparisons among species of the family Gruidae (cranes) and an outgroup Limpkin (Aramidae) and support the traditional view that crowned cranes (Balearica) are the most ancient lineage of extant gruids.
DNA sequences spanning 1,042 nucleotide bases of the mitochondrial cytochrome-b gene are reported for all 15 species and selected subspecies of cranes and an outgroup, the Limpkin, to suggest a rapid evolutionary diversification of these lineages.