Bird Watching (UK) - - News -

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 mark­my­, which al­lowed any­one to ac­cess 3D mod­els of the bills.

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