Jake on the challenges of ancient bird diversification

Grad student Jake Berv and colleagues have published a new perspective piece as a PeerJ pre-print. Several recent studies have identified portions of the avian tree of life that are particularly hard to reconstruct — perhaps as a consequence of particularly rapid evolution after the end-Cretaceous mass extinction. One issue that has proven vexing is the question of how old modern birds are.  The oldest fossils which can be identified as close relatives to living birds are generally younger than avian age estimates suggested by studies based on DNA. In this review article, Jake and colleagues explore the hypothesis that model misspecification in molecular divergence time analyses may be able to reconcile part of the ongoing debate. The pre-review article can be accessed now https://peerj.com/preprints/27521/

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