Birds as a group are remarkably uniform compared to many other vertebrate classes. What is the key unique characteristic that defines the class? What is the function(s) of that characteristic? What other characteristics of birds are mentioned in this chapter?
Describe the bony structure of the jaws and the outer structure of the beak. Can you think of any other vertebrate classes that have similar beak structures other than the platypus? Describe the two examples of evolution acting on beak shape that allowed birds to radiate into multiple species by exploiting different food sources. Describe the classic example of short-term evolution acting on beak shape.
How do birds compensate for the lack of teeth in the digestive process? Why do they need to?
Using the text section on Biogeography and Table 1-1 and information on the text website, name two orders in which all members currently occur only in the Australasian realm __________________
Three orders that occur only in the Neotropic realm ________________
Questions over Chapter 2 of Gill
List 5 bony anatomical characteristics and 3 reproductive/physiological characteristics that link birds and reptiles and differentiate them from mammals.
Archaeopteryx lithographica is arguably one of the best examples of a fossil “missing link”. When were the first fossils discovered? What trait(s) did it possess that linked it to birds? What reptilian features did it retain? What features were intermediate? Could it fly and what evidence indicates whether it could or not?
That birds evolved from reptiles is not debated, but which reptiles they evolved from is. What are the two competing hypotheses and which is more strongly supported?
Sinornis santenisis Figure 2-11 is an Enantiornithine. Based on the text, using a pencil, draw rectangles around those features on Fig 2-11 that are “reptilian” and draw circles around those features that are “avian”.
Name and describe the two best known ornithurine fossils.
What are the two hypotheses concerning the evolution of avian flight?
How does the original position of continents that comprised Gondwanaland explain the current distribution and evolutionary relationships of the ratite birds?