Our latest paper, just published online, suggests that the global devastation of forests following the end-Cretaceous asteroid strike also eliminated all tree-dwelling birds. Thus, all modern birds that live in trees are descended from non-arboreal extinction survivors! Check it out here: https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)30534-7
This was a really fun project to be a part of, and it was a privilege to work with Antoine Bercovici, Regan Dunn, Jacob Berv, Tyler Ranse Lyson, Vivi Vajda, David Fastovsky, and Jacques Gauthier.
Phillip Krzeminski from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology created this amazing and evocative scene, illustrating a hypothetical avian survivor (small, ground-dwelling, and capable of flight) fleeing wildfires set off in the immediate aftermath of the asteroid strike.
Please let me know if you’d like a copy of the PDF! And check out some of the accompanying press:
- National Geographic: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/05/dinosaurs-asteroid-birds-forests-fires-paleontology-science/?beta=true
- BBC: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-44226534
- CNN: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/05/24/world/birds-dinosaur-extinction-asteroid-event-study/index.html
- The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/how-birds-survived-the-dinosaur-killing-asteroid-97021
- The Atlantic: https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/05/dinosaurs-asteroids-goodbye-birds-trees/561110/
- The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/24/birds-had-to-relearn-flight-after-meteor-that-wiped-out-dinosaurs