CEB Committe on Evolutionary Biology

Early Cretaceous birds had low diversity

Confuciusornis, an early bird, lived during the early Cretaceous period approximately 120 million years ago. (artwork by Allison Elaine Johnson)

CEB student Jonathan Mitchell and his co-advisor Peter Makovicky, who is a CEB faculty member and curator at the Field Museum, recently analyzed the physical characteristics and diets of bird fossils from the Cretaceous period (~125 mya), and found that birds from this era were strikingly less diverse than their modern day descendants. Their findings were published in the May 28 issue of the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Click here to read UChicago’s press release. Artwork of three birds from the early Cretaceous period can be seen here (artwork by Allison Elaine Johnson, who is a graduate student in the Ecology and Evolution department)