Early Bird in the Press

The Early Bird project has been covered in the popular press and by bloggers interested in evolutionary biology. Much of the press coverage has focused on the large-scale Hackett et al. (2008) phylogeny and the detailed analyses of ratites by Harshman et al. (2008).

Early Bird has also attracted some attention from creationists and intelligent design advocates. Some creationists have alleged that the fact that many avian phylogeny is a difficult problem provides evidence that birds (and presumably other groups of organisms) do not share a common ancestor. None of the participants in the Early Bird project endorse this position. In fact, all of our data are consistent with the fact that the almost 10,000 extant avian species share a common ancestor. The great evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky wrote a 1973 essay entitled “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”. That statement is also true about avian biology.

Please send any feedback about this web page to Edward Braun. This page includes a number of links to external web sites; we do not maintain those web sites and we are not responsible for the contents of those pages (for more information see the Early Bird linking policy).

Press Coverage

Press coverage of Early Bird and its members is presented below:

  •, March 31, 2010, Early Bird member Rebecca Kimball was interviewed about the impact of the zebra finch genome sequence.
  • Evolution of Evolution” feature by Sushma Reddy and Shannon Hackett at the NSF, November 25, 2009
  • National Geographic magazine, April 2009, “Birds of a Father”
  • Birding Magazine, January 2009, “‘Deep’ Avian Relationship”
  • Inside Smithsonian Research, Winter 2009, “DNA evidence is rearranging the branches of the avian family tree”
  • Fox News, September 12, 2008, “Ostriches Kicked Out of Own Family”
  • Down to Earth Magazine, August 31, 2008, “Appearances are deceptive”
  • LiveScience, September 8, 2008, “Theory of Flightless Birds Shot Down”
  • Bird Channel, July 11, 2008, “Field Museum Study Challenges Bird Species Connections”
  • Los Angeles Times, June 28, 2008, “Surprises in genetic study will shake up birds’ family tree”
  • Huliq News, June 28, 2008, “How birds of feather flock together”
  • Orlando Sentinel, June 28, 2008, “Birds of a feather: Falcons and . . . parrots?”
  • United Press International, June 28, 2008, “DNA study shakes up bird family tree”
  • The Post Chronicle, June 28, 2008, “Bird Study Filled With Surprises”
  • com, June 27, 2008, “Geneticists Shake the Avian Family Tree”
  • G1 (Brazil), June 27, 2008, “Papagaios são primos de sabiás e gaviões, revela álbum de família das aves”
  • Daily Mail (United Kingdom), June 27, 2008, “Largest study of bird family tree sure to ruffle some feathers”
  • Red Orbit, June 27, 2008, “New Study On Birds May Ruffle Scientists’ Feathers”
  • DBTechno, June 27, 2008, “Study Forces Changes To The Family Tree Of Birds”
  • eFluxMedia, June 27, 2008, “Vast Bird Study Unveils New Information”
  • News, June 27, 2008, “Study proves scientists wrong”
  • Mirror (United Kingdom), June 27, 2008, “Study has twitchers in a flap”
  • Asian News International, June 27, 2008, “Biologists redraw entire bird evolutionary tree” syndicated in: com; Newstrack India; Big News Network; South Asian News; Thaindian News;
  • The LSU Advocate, June 27, 2008, “LSU helps transform views of bird evolution”
  • Australian Life Science, June 27, 2008, “Early bird gets the worm”
  • Chicago Tribune, June 27, 2008, “Field Museum’s genetic study rewrites family tree on birds” syndicated in: Monterey Herald, “Falcons are like parrots, says study”; The Seattle Times, “Falcons and parrots linked; bird study full of surprises”
  • Science Daily, June 27, 2008, “Huge Genome-scale Phylogenetic Study Of Birds Rewrites Evolutionary Tree-of-life” syndicated in: Biocompare; Eureka Alert; GeneRef; Innovations Report (Germany); Wildlife Extra;
  • National, June 26, 2008, “Bird Odd Couples Revealed by New Gene Study”
  • Reuters, June 26, 2008, “New bird family tree reveals some odd ducks” syndicated in: ABC Science (Australia), June 26, 2008, “Bird family tree given a shake”; Newstin; Reuters India; Reuters UK; Scientific American; Shanghai Daily; Sydney Morning Herald; Yahoo News, Borneo Post, Times of India
  • Agence France Presse, June 26, 2008, “Scientists rewrite history of avian evolution” syndicated in: com, Breitbart,,
  • Live Science, June 26, 2008, “Bird Study Reveals 10 Things You Didn’t Know”
  • com, June 26, 2008, “10 things you didn’t know about birds”
  • New Scientist, June 26, 2008, “ Bird evolutionary tree given a shake by DNA study”
  • Chicago Sun-Times, June 26, 2008, “Major bird study rearranges avian evolutionary tree”
  • Telegraph (United Kingdom), June 26, 2008, “Birds of a feather revealed in evolutionary tree”
  • University of Florida News, June 26, 2008, “Major evolutionary study rewrites bird ‘tree of life’” syndicated in: University 500;
  • com, June 26, 2008, “Huge genome-scale phylogenetic study of birds rewrites evolutionary tree-of-life”
  • Noorderlicht Nieuws (The Netherlands), June 26, 2008, “Nieuwe kijk op vogels”
  • com, June 26, 2008, “Study redraws family tree of birds”
  • The Scientist (United Kingdom), June 26, 2008, “Birds of a feather”
  • GenomeWeb Daily News, June 26, 2008, “Bird Phylogeny Reveals Unexpected Relationships”
  • Ciencia Hoje (Brazil), June 26, 2008, “Uma nova história evolutiva das aves”
  • com, June 26, 2008, “Study may change birds’ family tree”

Coverage in blogs

Information about the Early Bird project on blogs is presented below:

  • Fresno, Evolving, December 22, 2008, “Phylogenomics suggest ratites lost flight multiple times”
  • Living the Scientific Life, September 18, 2008, “Ratite Flight: Lost But Not Forgotten”
  • Denim and Tweed, September 10, 2008, “Birds converge on flightlessness”
  • WhatBird Forums, June 29, 2008, “New bird family tree?”
  • 10,000 Birds, June 28, 2008, “So where did birds come from – and where are they going?”
  • Richard, June 27, 2008, “Phylogenomic Study of Birds Reveals Evolutionary History”
  • Living the Scientific Life, June 26, 2008, “Early Birds Shake Up Avian Tree of Life”
  • Birder’s World Field of View, June 26, 2008, “New Research shows that much of bird classification is wrong”
  • City Parrots, June 26, 2008, “Major evolutionary study rewrites bird ‘tree of life’”
  • Greg Laden’s Blog, June 26, 2008, “The perfect bird family tree…”

Sierra Club, June 26, 2008, “Bird Family Tree Gets Ruffled”