BIRD BILL RESEARCH
Citizen scientists have helped researchers uncover new secrets about the evolution of bird’s bills. Researchers at the University of Sheffield asked the public to help measure bill shapes from more than 2,000 species, 3D scanned from specimens at the Natural History Museum and the Manchester Museum. Using the crowdsourced data, the team were able show that the diversity of bird bills expanded early in their evolutionary history. The most unusual beak shapes often involved periods of exceptionally fast change, but once extremes were reached, the changes to bird bills over time became much smaller. Members of the public logged onto the website markmybird.org, which allowed anyone to access 3D models of the bills.