The results from a genetic assessment of a wide range of birds has found some very interesting results on the relationships between birds families. Very interesting and exciting.
The Early Bird Project had been collecting DNA sequence data from all major living groups of birds and will publish the results tomorrow in Science.
The implications from the research are far reaching and suggest that modern habitat associations and lifestyles evolved several times and falcons are not closely related to eagles, hummingbirds evolved from a nightjar type ancestor, and tropicbirds are not related to pelicans and other waterbirds. The basal evolutionary group is not shorebirds as previously thought, and tinamous have a common ancestor with the ostrich and emu.
Perhaps the most exciting thing that I take from this research applies to all life on earth and suggests how wonderfully diverse and adaptable we are and that each individual animal contains within it the stuff that enables species to respond and adapt to change over time.