Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The transition to modern birds

Here is a chart outlining the current thinking about the most recent evolution phase of modern birds.

Consider the idea that pterosaur types developed into their corresponding modern bird types (within Neoaves, Anseriformes, and Galliformes).
Palaeognathae requires more research.
"Modern birds (subclass Neornithes) are the most recent common ancestor of all living birds (class Aves) and all its descendants.

Modern birds are characterised by feathers, a beak with no teeth (ancient birds had teeth), the laying of hard-shelled eggs, a high metabolic rate, a four-chambered heart, and a lightweight but strong skeleton. All birds have forelimbs modified as wings and most can fly, with some exceptions including ratites, penguins, and a number of diverse endemic island species. Birds also have unique digestive and respiratory systems that are highly adapted for flight. Some birds, especially corvids and parrots, are among the most intelligent animal species; a number of bird species have been observed manufacturing and using tools, and many social species exhibit cultural transmission of knowledge across generations."

Subclass Neornithes

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