From The Guardian on 06-Mar-2014 12:37
Scientists analysing songbird DNA discovered that the spotted wren-babbler is neither a wren nor a wren-babbler, nor even a babbler. Instead, it represents an old evolutionary family that has no close living relatives.
A newly published study has uncovered a previously unknown family of songbirds that is represented by just one species. After analyzing one of the largest and most comprehensive songbird DNA databases amassed so far, researchers recovered ten distinct avian family branches in the Passerida songbird family tree, including the newly identified family, represented by the spotted wren-babbler, which lives in Asia. The data reveal that the spotted wren-babbler is neither a wren nor a wren-babbler and in fact, it has no close living relatives at all. The researchers concluded that the spotted wren-babbler is the sole representative of a unique avian family that is the earliest surviving evolutionary offshoot in Passerida.
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