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Science. 1997 Feb 21;275(5303):1109-13.

Mass survival of birds across the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary: molecular evidence.

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1
School of Biological Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand. alan.cooper@bioanth.ox.ac.uk

Abstract

The extent of terrestrial vertebrate extinctions at the end of the Cretaceous is poorly understood, and estimates have ranged from a mass extinction to limited extinctions of specific groups. Molecular and paleontological data demonstrate that modern bird orders started diverging in the Early Cretaceous; at least 22 avian lineages of modern birds cross the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. Data for several other terrestrial vertebrate groups indicate a similar pattern of survival and, taken together, favor incremental changes during a Cretaceous diversification of birds and mammals rather than an explosive radiation in the Early Tertiary.

PMID:
9027308
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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