An integrative approach to understanding bird origins

Published on Dec 12, 2014in Science41.04
· DOI :10.1126/science.1253293
Xing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Estimated H-index: 47
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
+ 4 AuthorsDavid J. Varricchio28
Estimated H-index: 28
(MSU: Montana State University)
Research on the origin and evolution of birds has gathered pace in recent years, aided by a continuous stream of new fossil finds as well as molecular phylogenies. Bird origins, in particular, are now better understood than those of mammals, for which the early fossil record is relatively poor compared with that of birds. Xu et al. review progress in tracing the origins of birds from theropod dinosaurs, focusing especially on recent fossil finds of feathered dinosaurs of northeastern China. They integrate current research on developmental biology and functional anatomy with the paleontological record, to show how key features of birds—feathers, wings, and flight—originated and evolved, and radiated from their dinosaur forebears. Science , this issue [10.1126/science.1253293][1] [1]: /lookup/doi/10.1126/science.1253293
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