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Trends Ecol Evol. 1998 Dec 1;13(12):488-92.

Evolution and history of the western Palaearctic avifauna.

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Centre d'Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive/CNRS, UPR 9056, 34293 Montpellier cedex 5, France.


Recent data accumulated from fields as varied as avian palaeontology, palaeobotany, historical biogeography and molecular phylogenetics provide a completely renewed picture of the origin, evolution and distribution of modern birds. Although the origin of birds is still controversial, their Tertiary history is now well known. The reconstruction of palaeoenvironments and the identification of shifts in major vegetation belts and habitats during the Pliocene-Pleistocene epochs have added to these recent developments. Together they provide a new perspective on speciation and extinction rates since the late Pliocene and the establishment of modern avifaunas in the western Palaearctic.

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