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Mega-evolutionary dynamics of the adaptive radiation of birds [Nature]

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

The origin and expansion of biological diversity is regulated by both developmental trajectories and limits on available ecological niches. As lineages diversify, an early and often rapid phase of species and trait proliferation gives way to evolutionary slow-downs as new species pack into ever more densely occupied regions of ecological niche space. Small clades such as Darwin’s finches demonstrate that natural selection is the driving force of adaptive radiations, but how microevolutionary processes scale up to shape the expansion of phenotypic diversity over much longer evolutionary timescales is unclear. Here we address this problem on a global scale by analysing a crowdsourced dataset of three-dimensional scanned bill morphology from more than 2,000 species.(...)

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