Evidence for a single loss of mineralized teeth in the common avian ancestor.
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Edentulism, the absence of teeth, has evolved convergently among vertebrates, including birds, turtles, and several lineages of mammals. Instead of teeth, modern birds (Neornithes) use a horny beak (rhamphotheca) and a muscular gizzard to acquire and process food. We performed comparative genomic analyses representing lineages of nearly all extant bird orders and recovered shared, inactivating mutations within genes expressed in both the enamel and dentin of teeth of other vertebrate species, indicating that the common ancestor of modern birds lacked mineralized teeth. We estimate that tooth loss, or at least the loss of enamel caps that provide the outer layer of mineralized teeth, occurred about 116 million years ago.
SubjectAlligators and Crocodiles
Published Version (Please cite this version)10.1126/science.1254390
Publication InfoGilbert, M Thomas P; Jarvis, Erich David; Meredith, RW; Springer, MS; & Zhang, G (2014). Evidence for a single loss of mineralized teeth in the common avian ancestor. Science, 346(6215). pp. 1254390. 10.1126/science.1254390. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/11152.
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Adjunct Professor in the Dept. of Neurobiology
Dr. Jarvis' laboratory studies the neurobiology of vocal communication. Emphasis is placed on the molecular pathways involved in the perception and production of learned vocalizations. They use an integrative approach that combines behavioral, anatomical, electrophysiological and molecular biological techniques. The main animal model used is songbirds, one of the few vertebrate groups that evolved the ability to learn vocalizations. The generality of the discoveries is tested in other vocal