I gleaned this from the OK list.  Wow, this DNA stuff is gettin'
interesting.  Note one author is at Truman State.
Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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Subject: Galapagos finches linked to Caribbean
From: Doug <wildlifer AT IONET.NET>
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2003 01:43:16 -0500

Evolution: Vol. 56, No. 6, pp. 1240 1252.


Kevin J. Burns

Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California
92182-4614 E-mail: kburns AT

Shannon J. Hackett

Department of Zoology, Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 South Lake
Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605-2496

Nedra K. Klein

Division of Science, Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri 63501

     Abstract Despite the importance of Darwin's finches to the
     development of evolutionary theory, the origin of the group has only
     recently been examined using a rigorous, phylogenetic methodology
     that includes many potential outgroups. Knowing the evolutionary
     relationships of Darwin's finches to other birds is important for
     understanding the context from which this adaptive radiation arose.
     Here we show that analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence data from
     the cytochrome b gene confirm that Darwin's finches are
     monophyletic. In addition, many taxa previously proposed as the
     sister taxon to Darwin's finches can be excluded as their closest
     living relative. Darwin's finches are part of a well-supported
     monophyletic group of species, all of which build a domed nest. All
     but two of the non-Darwin's finches included in this clade occur on
     Caribbean islands and most are Caribbean endemics. These close
     relatives of Darwin's finches show a diversity of bill types and
     feeding behaviors similar to that observed among Darwin's finches
     themselves. Recent studies have shown that adaptive evolution in
     Darwin's finches occurred relatively quickly. Our data show that
     among the relatives of Darwin's finches, the evolution of bill
     diversity was also rapid and extensive.

... and propose a name, Thorospiza.

They say that the mainland birds once thought to to be sister taxa for
Darwin's Finches, Sporophila or Volatina are not the closest relatives.

And on the warbler finch:

Although the majority of taxonomists have regarded the warbler finch as
being derived from finch-like ancestors (3), since Darwin s time some
uncertainty has persisted about this issue (e.g., refs. 26 and 27).
Darwin himself included this species in the family Parulidae, the
American warblers (28). According to this view, Darwin s finches then
would have been founded by at least two different species the finch-like
and the warbler-like ancestors. Other taxonomists have argued, however,
that the warbler-like appearance of the species is the result of
morphological convergence (3), and this view now is upheld by the
molecular data: the warbler finch is part of the monophyletic Darwin s
finch group and Parulidae were clearly not among its ancestors.


Doug McGee
Cleveland OK
Two years rehab
All NATIVE species
BS Wildlife Ecology-Herpetology

"To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent
'ecological' tinkering" Aldo Leopold

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