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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Early Birds Smelled Good

I've been very busy lately between trips to South Africa, Nantes, and now Toulouse for a prehistory meeting--so little time to do political comment right now.

But since I make most of my living as a science writer, I can at least share my latest contribution to that literature: A story on the olfactory abilities of early birds, nothing to sniff at!

You can read it at the link, here's the first paragraph to get you started:

About 65 million years ago, most of the dinosaurs and many other animals and plants were wiped off Earth, probably due to an asteroid hitting our planet. Researchers have long debated how and why some species survived the so-called Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction, marked in ancient rocks by a transition called the K-T boundary. A new study suggests that one group of survivors, the birds, may have sniffed their way across by evolving an enhanced sense of smell.


Credit: Courtesy of Witmer Lab/Ohio University

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