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August 14 2013

Shortening tails gave earliest birds evolutionary advantage, study finds


According to a University of Oxford press release dated August 13, a research team led by scientists from the prestigious British university discovered that, after examining fossils from the Cretaceous Period (145-66 million years ago), a fundamental shortening of the bony tails of the earliest birds caused the development of versatile legs and gave these animals an evolutionary edge. The findings are reported this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, under the title, “Rates of dinosaur limb evolution provide evidence for exceptional radiation in Mesozoic birds.”

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