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Early Birds

Gangster birds running protection racket give insight into coevolution

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1000pa (Nov. 18, 2010) — Like gangsters running a protection racket, drongos in the Kalahari Desert act as lookouts for other birds in order to steal a cut of their food catch. The behaviour, revealed in research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) published in Evolution and reported in Nature's Research Highlights, may represent a rare example of two species evolving from a parasitic to a mutualistic relationship.

The team from the Universities of Bristol, Cambridge and Cape Town showed that victimised pied babblers gained a mitigating benefit from the presence of thieving drongos because, by keeping watch for predators, the drongos allowed the babblers to focus on foraging and so...

Prehistoric winged reptiles 'pole-vaulted' into flight

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1000pa (Nov. 15, 2010) — Controversial claims that enormous prehistoric winged beasts could not fly have been refuted by the most comprehensive study to date which asserts that giant pterosaurs were skilled in flight.

The study, by Dr. Mark Witton from the University of Portsmouth in the UK and Dr Michael Habib from Chatham University in Pittsburgh, PA, contradicts recent assertions that the creatures were flightless and explains how they...

1000pa (Nov. 15, 2010) — Controversial claims...

Fossilized giant penguin reveals unusual colors, sheds light on bird evolution

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1000pa (Sep. 30, 2010) — Paleontologists have unearthed the first extinct penguin with preserved evidence of scales and feathers. The 36-million-year-old fossil from Peru shows the new giant penguin's feathers were reddish brown and grey, distinct from the black tuxedoed look of living penguins.

The new species, Inkayacu paracasensis, or Water King, was nearly five feet tall or about twice the size of an Emperor penguin, the largest living...

1000pa (Sep. 30, 2010) — Paleontologists have...

19-million-year-old genomic fossils of hepatitis B-like viruses in songbirds

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1000pa (Sep. 29, 2010) — Biologists from The University of Texas at Arlington have uncovered virus fragments from the same family of the modern Hepatitis B virus locked inside the genomes of songbirds such as the modern-day zebra finch.

The article, publishing in the online, open access journal PLoS Biology, marks the first time that endogenous hepadnaviruses have been found in any organism. An endogenous virus is one that deposits itself...

1000pa (Sep. 29, 2010) — Biologists from The...

Fossil of giant bony-toothed bird from chile sets wingspan record

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1000pa (Sep. 19, 2010) — A newly discovered skeleton of an ancient seabird from northern Chile provides evidence that giant birds were soaring the skies there 5-10 million years ago. The wing bones of the animal exceed those of all other birds in length; its wingspan would have been at least 5.2 m (17 ft.). This is the largest safely established wingspan for a bird. Other, larger estimates for fossil birds have been based on much less...

1000pa (Sep. 19, 2010) — A newly discovered...

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Book review

Dinosaurs Encyclopedia

Book Review

Dinosaurs: The Most Complete, Up-to-Date Encyclopedia for Dinosaur Lovers of All Ages ... WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL paleontologist specifically for young readers, this guide to the Dinosauria is packed...