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birds

Art for "A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate"
ecology

A Thermodynamic Answer to Why Birds Migrate

New modeling studies suggest that birds migrate to strike a favorable balance between their input and output of energy.

520px photo of Jarvis holding a zebra finch
Q&A

In Birds’ Songs, Brains and Genes, He Finds Clues to Speech

The neuroscientist Erich Jarvis found that songbirds’ vocal skills and humans’ spoken language are both rooted in neural pathways for controlling learned movements.

universality

A Bird’s-Eye View of Nature’s Hidden Order

Scientists are exploring a mysterious pattern, found in birds’ eyes, boxes of marbles and other surprising places, that is neither regular nor random.

evolution

How Dinosaurs Shrank and Became Birds

Modern birds emerged in a snap of evolutionary time through a series of simple genetic changes.

Melpomene
genetics

As Animals Mingle, a Baffling Genetic Barrier

Despite swapping DNA through interbreeding, butterflies and other animals can maintain distinct species.

evolution

Does Competition Drive Diversity of Species?

A large new study of ovenbird lineages questions the extent to which competing species push each other to evolve.