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New Findings about the Bird's Family Tree

Narrator: This is Science Today. Parrots and songbirds are actually each other's closest relatives; falcons are only distant cousins to other birds of prey; and turkey vultures are no longer in the same group as storks. These are just some of the findings of a genetic study that reshuffled the bird's family tree. Ornithologist Raurie Bowie of the University of California, Berkeley was part of a team of scientists who published these new findings, but he says there will still probably be more surprises ahead.

Bowie: That's what science is - science is about making progress, developing a new hypothesis, exploring that. I'm sure we're going to find some things that are going to still change in the future. I wouldn't say that we know how everything is related, we still have birds like the hoatzin, which is the only bird that actually has a physical claw on its wing. We have no idea what that bird is related to. So, we're answered some of the questions, but we're not the whole way there and as technology improves and continues to get better, we're going to be able to do more and more and more.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.