Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Our Understanding of Bird Evolution... WRONG?!

     A new study was released that has completely changed the view of our understanding of the evolution of birds. The University of Florida found a section of one chromosome that was fused and mixed in with other nearby DNA. This specific string of this particular chromosome has spent "millions of years frozen in time" and is only "two percent of the bird genome". This discovery has scientists convinced that finding this section of the genome allows them to group most birds into two categories based on their evolutionary cousins, flamingos and doves. After looking further into exclusive family trees and inspecting individual genes, it was found that recombination, a process that enhances genetic diversity by making sure no two siblings are alike, was not active for a handful of billion years about the time the dinosaurs disappeared. It is said that flamingos and doves look similar in this "frozen" part of their DNA. Although these two things were similar, the rest of the genome is much more distantly related. The scientists who took part in this study also believe that this is possible for other species as well.

    This is a super interesting study that completely changes the course of the original belief about the evolution of birds, especially in terms of genetic diversity and reproduction during the time of the "frozen" section of the bird's chromosome. This is super interesting and might give us a better insight into more species ancestry in the future and allow for a better understanding of evolution! 

                                    Why are Flamingos Pink? And Other Flamingo Facts | Smithsonian's National  Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

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