• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia

Anthropogenic extinctions conceal widespread evolution of flightlessness in birds (1 Viewer)

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Netherlands
F. Sayol, M. J. Steinbauer, T. M. Blackburn, A. Antonelli, S. Faurb, 2020

Anthropogenic extinctions conceal widespread evolution of flightlessness in birds

Science Advances 02 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 49, eabb6095
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb6095

Free pdf ad abstract: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/49/eabb6095/tab-pdf

Human-driven extinctions can affect our understanding of evolution, through the nonrandom loss of certain types of species. Here, we explore how knowledge of a major evolutionary transition—the evolution of flightlessness in birds—is biased by anthropogenic extinctions. Adding data on 581 known anthropogenic extinctions to the extant global avifauna increases the number of species by 5%, but quadruples the number of flightless species. The evolution of flightlessness in birds is a widespread phenomenon, occurring in more than half of bird orders and evolving independently at least 150 times. Thus, we estimate that this evolutionary transition occurred at a rate four times higher than it would appear based solely on extant species. Our analysis of preanthropogenic avian diversity shows how anthropogenic effects can conceal the frequency of major evolutionary transitions in life forms and highlights the fact that macroevolutionary studies with only small amounts of missing data can still be highly biased.

Enjoy,

Fred
 

jurek

Well-known member
I wonder when somebody finds a bird which evolved back from flightless to flying?

Considering that decrease of wings is quick and continuous, it could possibly sometimes be reversed.
 

Welsh Peregrine

Well-known member
A lot of the articles made from press releases mention that there were flightless members of various families that no longer have flightless members, including woodpeckers. Anyone any ideas about a flightless woodpecker?
 

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Netherlands
A lot of the articles made from press releases mention that there were flightless members of various families that no longer have flightless members, including woodpeckers. Anyone any ideas about a flightless woodpecker?

If you look at their supplementary materials in data file S2 at https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/suppl/2020/11/30/6.49.eabb6095.DC1
There is a list of birds and indicated is whether they are colant or flightless. No Piciformes is indicated as flightless. So where thas story comes from, I don't know.

Fred
 

Mysticete

Well-known member
United States
I wonder when somebody finds a bird which evolved back from flightless to flying?

Considering that decrease of wings is quick and continuous, it could possibly sometimes be reversed.
Hasn't this already been suggested as occurring in some of the South Pacific rails? I thought I had heard this hypothesized before?
 

albertonykus

Well-known member
A lot of the articles made from press releases mention that there were flightless members of various families that no longer have flightless members, including woodpeckers. Anyone any ideas about a flightless woodpecker?

In their materials and methods, they mention "Species described as weak flyers were considered flightless in the main analysis, but considering them as volant does not change our conclusions[.]" In supplementary data file S1, they classify the extinct Colaptes oceanicus as a weak flyer, so I suspect that that's where the claim originates from.
 

Welsh Peregrine

Well-known member
Thanks, that makes more sense. Difficult to imagine a flightless woodpecker ( but not as difficult as a flightless swift or hummingbird would be!)
 
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Columbia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
ZEISS. Discover the fascinating world of birds, and win a birding trip to Colombia
Warning! This thread is more than 2 years ago old.
It's likely that no further discussion is required, in which case we recommend starting a new thread. If however you feel your response is required you can still do so.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top