Makes you think . . .

29 Oct

Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon outside Natural History Museum in Santa Cruz

 John Harshman from the Early Bird project spoke to the Santa Cruz Bird Club on the topic:  “DNA Sequencing — Tear Up Your Field Guide and Tape It Back Together.”  What a fascinating talk.  He explained — in a dumbed-down, simplified way how DNA sequencing works — need I say that it still left my brain hurting?  Then he shared things that they have learned about the family tree in birds based on the reasearch of his group, Early Bird, and others.  My favorite tidbit is that the Flamingo is not closely related to the Stork — as was previously thought but is closely related to a Grebe.  Not something one would intuit by looking at them.

Dr Harshman said that most of their data is, as yet, unpublished but it will be published soon.  He said that when it is, the Tree of Life website will be updated to reflect the new information.  Field guides will remain the same for now — and he mentioned that it is a useful format because they show birds that APPEAR the same in close proximity so that they can be identfied more easily — but that taxonomies will be changing based on this research.

Cool stuff, that Science!




2 Responses to “Makes you think . . .”

  1. mon@rch 29 October, 2007 at 3:20 pm #

    Sounds interesting and sounds like a great museum doing presentations like that!

  2. lizalee 29 October, 2007 at 6:25 pm #

    It is a great museum but this is the Santa Cruz Bird Club that puts the programs together. It’s fantastic!

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