About this book

When and where did the ancestors of modern birds evolve? What enabled them to survive the meteoric impact that wiped out the dinosaurs? How did these early birds spread across the globe and give rise to the 10,500-plus species we recognise today – from the largest ratites to the smallest hummingbirds? Based on the latest scientific discoveries and enriched by personal observations, The Ascent of Birds sets out to answer these fundamental questions.

This book is divided into self-contained chapters, or stories, that collectively encompass the evolution of modern birds from their origins in Gondwana, over 100 million years ago, to the present day. The stories are arranged in chronological order, from tinamous to tanagers, and describe the many dispersal and speciation events that underpin the world’s 10,500-plus species. Although each chapter is spearheaded by a named bird and focuses on a specific evolutionary mechanism, the narrative will often explore the relevance of such events and processes to evolution in general.

List of Illustrations
– Geological Ages
– Prologue: Evolution of an Idea
1. The Tinamou’s Story: Death of a Paradigm
2. The Vegavis’s Story: The Cradle of Modern Birds
3. The Waterfowl’s Story: Refugia, High Living, and Sex
4. The Hoatzin’s Story: An Improbable Voyage
5. The Penguin’s Story: Phenotype and Environment
6. The Storm Petrel’s Story: Sympatry versusAllopatry
7. The Albatross’s Story: The Species Problem
8. The Godwit’s Story:Quantum Compasses
9. The Buzzard’s Story: Accidental Speciation
10. The Owl’s Story: Nightlife
11. The Oilbird’s Story: Evolutionary Distinctiveness
12. The Hummingbird’s Story: A Route of Evanescence
13. The Parrot’s Story: Vicariance and Dispersal
14. The New Zealand Wren’s Story: A Novel Foot
15. The Manakin’s Story: Why so many Suboscines?
16. The Sapayoa’s Story: Odd One Out
17. The Scrubbird’s Story: Where Song Began
18. The Bowerbird’s Story: Extended Phenotypes
19. The Crows’ Story: Cognitive Skills
20. The Bird of Paradise’s Story: Sexual Selection
21. The Starling’s Story: Structural Colours
22. The Thrush’s Story: Sweepstake Dispersals
23. The Sparrow’s Story: Hybridisation and Speciation
24. The Zebra Finch’s Story: Evolution of Birdsong
25. The Crossbill’s Story: Adaptive Radiation and Coevolution
26. The White-eye’s Story: Supertramps and Great Speciators
27. The Tanager’s Story: A Final Flourish

Fugleforskning Varenummer: 104160

249,00 kr.

The Ascent of Birds – John Reilly

249,00 kr.

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