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
  • References (126)
  • Citations (98)
Published on May 1, 2015in Scientific Reports4.01
Xing Xu41
Estimated H-index: 41
Fenglu Han11
Estimated H-index: 11
Qi Zhao8
Estimated H-index: 8
The homology of the ‘semilunate' carpal, an important structure linking non-avian and avian dinosaurs, has been controversial. Here we describe the morphology of some theropod wrists, demonstrating that the ‘semilunate' carpal is not formed by the same carpal elements in all theropods possessing this feature and that the involvement of the lateralmost distal carpal in forming the ‘semilunate' carpal of birds is an inheritance from their non-avian theropod ancestors. Optimization of relevant morp...
Published on May 1, 2015in Scientific Reports4.01
Alison E. Moyer7
Estimated H-index: 7
Wenxia Zheng10
Estimated H-index: 10
+ 4 AuthorsMary H. Schweitzer24
Estimated H-index: 24
Melanosomes or Microbes: Testing an Alternative Hypothesis for the Origin of Microbodies in Fossil Feathers
Published on Feb 16, 2015in Annual Review of Animal Biosciences5.20
Chih-Feng Chen15
Estimated H-index: 15
(NCHU: National Chung Hsing University),
John Foley19
Estimated H-index: 19
+ 5 AuthorsCheng-Ming Chuong61
Estimated H-index: 61
(SC: University of Southern California)
The feather is a complex ectodermal organ with hierarchical branching patterns. It provides functions in endothermy, communication, and flight. Studies of feather growth, cycling, and health are of fundamental importance to avian biology and poultry science. In addition, feathers are an excellent model for morphogenesis studies because of their accessibility, and their distinct patterns can be used to assay the roles of specific molecular pathways. Here we review the progress in aspects of devel...
Published on Aug 1, 2014in Science41.04
Michael S. Y. Lee50
Estimated H-index: 50
(University of Adelaide),
Andrea Cau14
Estimated H-index: 14
(UNIBO: University of Bologna)
+ 1 AuthorsGareth J. Dyke28
Estimated H-index: 28
(University of Southampton)
Recent discoveries have highlighted the dramatic evolutionary transformation of massive, ground-dwelling theropod dinosaurs into light, volant birds. Here, we apply Bayesian approaches (originally developed for inferring geographic spread and rates of molecular evolution in viruses) in a different context: to infer size changes and rates of anatomical innovation (across up to 1549 skeletal characters) in fossils. These approaches identify two drivers underlying the dinosaur-bird transition. The ...
Published on Jul 25, 2014in Science41.04
Pascal Godefroit20
Estimated H-index: 20
(Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences),
Sofia M. Sinitsa2
Estimated H-index: 2
+ 5 AuthorsPaul Spagna7
Estimated H-index: 7
(Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences)
Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous deposits from northeastern China have yielded varied theropod dinosaurs bearing feathers. Filamentous integumentary structures have also been described in ornithischian dinosaurs, but whether these filaments can be regarded as part of the evolutionary lineage toward feathers remains controversial. Here we describe a new basal neornithischian dinosaur from the Jurassic of Siberia with small scales around the distal hindlimb, larger imbricated scales around the ...
Published on Jul 1, 2014in Nature43.07
Christian Foth11
Estimated H-index: 11
Helmut Tischlinger3
Estimated H-index: 3
Oliver W. M. Rauhut28
Estimated H-index: 28
The discovery of numerous feathered dinosaurs and early birds has set the iconic 'Urvogel' (or 'first bird') Archaeopteryx in a broader context. But this venerable taxon still has the capacity to surprise. A newly discovered specimen from the Solnhofen limestone in Bavaria only the eleventh since 1861 shows a generous covering of feathers all over the body. Of particular note is a hindlimb covering resembling feathered 'trousers'. Analysis of feather distribution on the limbs and tail strongly s...
Published on Jun 13, 2014in Science41.04
John M. Grady4
Estimated H-index: 4
(UNM: University of New Mexico),
Brian J. Enquist65
Estimated H-index: 65
(UA: University of Arizona)
+ 2 AuthorsFelisa A. Smith26
Estimated H-index: 26
(UNM: University of New Mexico)
Were dinosaurs ectotherms or fast-metabolizing endotherms whose activities were unconstrained by temperature? To date, some of the strongest evidence for endothermy comes from the rapid growth rates derived from the analysis of fossil bones. However, these studies are constrained by a lack of comparative data and an appropriate energetic framework. Here we compile data on ontogenetic growth for extant and fossil vertebrates, including all major dinosaur clades. Using a metabolic scaling approach...
Published on Mar 1, 2014in Nature43.07
Quanguo Li5
Estimated H-index: 5
Julia A. Clarke27
Estimated H-index: 27
+ 5 AuthorsMatthew D. Shawkey30
Estimated H-index: 30
Sampling of extant and fossil amniotes reveals that the diversity of melanosome morphologies increased sharply around the time of the origin of pinnate feathers in maniraptoran dinosaurs (the lineage leading to birds) and independently in mammals; lizard, turtle and crocodilian skin as well as archosaur filamentous body covering shows a limited diversity of melanosome forms, a pattern consistent with convergent changes in the melanocortin system of endothermic animals.
Published on Mar 1, 2014in Developmental Biology2.94
Qiqi Chu3
Estimated H-index: 3
(FZU: Fuzhou University),
Linyan Cai2
Estimated H-index: 2
(FZU: Fuzhou University)
+ 9 AuthorsCheng-Ming Chuong61
Estimated H-index: 61
(SC: University of Southern California)
Avian feathers have robust growth and regeneration capability. To evaluate the contribution of signaling molecules and pathways in these processes, we profiled gene expression in the feather follicle using an absolute quantification approach. We identified hundreds of genes that mark specific components of the feather follicle: the dermal papillae (DP) which controls feather regeneration and axis formation, the pulp mesenchyme (Pp) which is derived from DP cells and nourishes the feather follicl...
Published on Feb 1, 2014in Nature43.07
Emma R. Schachner13
Estimated H-index: 13
(UofU: University of Utah),
Robert L. Cieri3
Estimated H-index: 3
(UofU: University of Utah)
+ 1 AuthorsC. G. Farmer21
Estimated H-index: 21
Unlike the tidal (in and out) breathing of mammals, bird lungs have unidirectional airflow patterns; here the savannah monitor lizard is shown to have unidirectional airflow too, with profound implications for the evolution of unidirectional airflow in reptiles, predating the origin of birds.
Cited By98
Published on Dec 1, 2019in Nature Communications11.88
Shengkai Pan14
Estimated H-index: 14
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences),
Yi Lin (CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)+ 10 AuthorsGuanghou Shui48
Estimated H-index: 48
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
Flight loss in birds is as characteristic of the class Aves as flight itself. Although morphological and physiological differences are recognized in flight-degenerate bird species, their contributions to recurrent flight degeneration events across modern birds and underlying genetic mechanisms remain unclear. Here, in an analysis of 295 million nucleotides from 48 bird genomes, we identify two convergent sites causing amino acid changes in ATGLSer321Gly and ACOT7Ala197Val in flight-degenerate bi...
Published on Jun 1, 2019in Trends in Ecology and Evolution15.24
Michael J. Benton66
Estimated H-index: 66
(UoB: University of Bristol),
Danielle Dhouailly25
Estimated H-index: 25
+ 1 AuthorsMaria E. McNamara12
Estimated H-index: 12
(UCC: University College Cork)
Feathers have long been regarded as the innovation that drove the success of birds. However, feathers have been reported from close dinosaurian relatives of birds, and now from ornithischian dinosaurs and pterosaurs, the cousins of dinosaurs. Incomplete preservation makes these reports controversial. If true, these findings shift the origin of feathers back 80 million years before the origin of birds. Gene regulatory networks show the deep homology of scales, feathers, and hairs. Hair and feathe...
Published on May 24, 2019in The ISME Journal9.49
Veronika Gvoždíková Javůrková1
Estimated H-index: 1
(CULS: Czech University of Life Sciences Prague),
Jakub Kreisinger13
Estimated H-index: 13
(Charles University in Prague)
+ 6 AuthorsJiří Porkert
The functional relevance of microbiota is a key aspect for understanding host–microbiota interactions. Mammalian skin harbours a complex consortium of beneficial microorganisms known to provide health and immune-boosting advantages. As yet, however, little is known about functional microbial communities on avian feathers, including their co-evolution with the host and factors determining feather microbiota (FM) diversity. Using 16S rRNA profiling, we investigated how host species identity, phylo...
Yaser Saffar Talori (THU: Tsinghua University), Jing-Shan Zhao15
Estimated H-index: 15
(THU: Tsinghua University)
This study explores the aerodynamic capacity of feathered forelimbs of Caudipteryx, the most basal non-volant maniraptoran dinosaur, with particular focus on flapping during terrestrial locomotion on a flat, horizontal substrate. In order to seek this subject, Caudipteryx and its wings have been modeled theoretically based on measuring the fossil data of Caudipteryx (IVPP V12344 and IVPP V12430). We divided the wings into various elements to enhance the analysis accuracy, and lift and thrust for...
Published on Apr 24, 2019in Alcheringa1.02
Jun Chen , Robert Beattie7
Estimated H-index: 7
+ 3 AuthorsHaichun Zhang20
Estimated H-index: 20
Chen, J., Beattie, R., Wang, B., Jiang, H., Zheng, Y. & Zhang, H., 12 April 2019. The first palaeontinid from the Late Jurassic of Australia (Hemiptera, Cicadomorpha, Palaeontinidae). Alcheringa XX, xxx–xxx. ISSN 0311-5518.Palaeontinidae, an extinct group of large arboreal insects, has the most diverse record among the Mesozoic Hemiptera, but only a few taxa have been reported from the Southern Hemisphere. Herein, Talbragarocossus jurassicus Chen, Beattie & Wang gen. et sp. nov., one of the earl...
Published on Apr 20, 2019in Palaeontology2.63
Daniel D. Cashmore1
Estimated H-index: 1
(University of Birmingham),
Richard J. Butler36
Estimated H-index: 36
(University of Birmingham)
Published on Apr 18, 2019in Nature Reviews Neuroscience33.16
Alain Chédotal58
Estimated H-index: 58
(University of Paris)
The spinal cord receives, relays and processes sensory information from the periphery and integrates this information with descending inputs from supraspinal centres to elicit precise and appropriate behavioural responses and orchestrate body movements. Understanding how the spinal cord circuits that achieve this integration are wired during development is the focus of much research interest. Several families of proteins have well-established roles in guiding developing spinal cord axons, and re...
Published on Jul 1, 2019in Micron1.53
Abstract Experiments involving scanning electron microscopy of the microstructure of barbules and optical microscopy of knotted barbules were conducted: the behaviour of knotted barbules, and their evolution to form a branch of hooked barbules and unhooked barbules were analysed. A growth model for a feather plume was proposed. MATLAB™ 2-d contour microstructures of sectioned knotted feathers and three-dimensional structural models of barbules were established, moreover, these were analysed usin...
Published on May 2, 2019in PLOS Computational Biology
Yaser Saffar Talori (THU: Tsinghua University), Jing-Shan Zhao (THU: Tsinghua University)+ 3 AuthorsJingmai K. O'Connor22
Estimated H-index: 22
(CAS: Chinese Academy of Sciences)
The origin of avian flight is one of the most controversial debates in Paleontology. This paper investigates the wing performance of Caudipteryx, the most basal non-volant dinosaur with pennaceous feathered forelimbs by using modal effective mass theory. From a mechanical standpoint, the forced vibrations excited by hindlimb locomotion stimulate the movement of wings, creating a flapping-like motion in response. This shows that the origin of the avian flight stroke should lie in a completely nat...