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The method of automating the construction of fungal trees described in the August issue of Systematic Biology by Hibbett et al. (Automated Phylogenetic Taxonomy: An Example in the Homobasidiomycetes (Mushroom-Forming Fungi)) has been featured in Science. For more information, please visit the mor web site.
The authors conclude:
Our phylogenetic analyses do not support tree-thinking. These results have important conceptual and practical implications. We argue that representations other than a tree should be investigated in this case because a non-critical concatenation of markers could be highly misleading.
Ancient DNA Provides New Insights into the Evolutionary History of New Zealand's Extinct Giant Eagle
From PLoS Biology:
Prior to human settlement 700 years ago New Zealand had no terrestrial mammalsÃ¢â?¬"apart from three species of batsÃ¢â?¬"instead, approximately 250 avian species dominated the ecosystem. At the top of the food chain was the extinct Haast's eagle, Harpagornis moorei. H. moorei (10Ã¢â?¬"15 kg; 2Ã¢â?¬"3 m wingspan) was 30%Ã¢â?¬"40% heavier than the largest extant eagle (the harpy eagle, Harpia harpyja), and hunted moa up to 15 times its weight.
The Barcode of Life
The Genealogical World of Phylogenetic Networks
BMC Evolutionary Biology