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  1. Pteryxx says

    Adding to the stack: Hummingbirds: Still evolving endless forms most wonderful by GrrlScientist

    A newly-published comprehensive family tree for hummingbirds traces the rapid and ongoing birth of new species throughout this modern family’s 22-million-year history. The findings indicate that hummingbird diversification is driven primarily by two elements: by their exploitation of new niches created by the Andean uplift and expansion into new geographic regions, and by their unique relationship to flowering plants. Combined, these two elements support the large variety of distinct hummingbird species that live side-by-side in the same places. Further, although the rate of hummingbird speciation is slowing, this study finds that the evolution of new hummingbird species is still ongoing and is far from complete.

    Most people think hummingbirds require hothouse-like conditions to live. But in fact, more than one-third of all hummingbird species live in the extreme environments found in the Andes. This raises a number of important issues, not the least of which is how such tiny birds survive such cold nights.