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IPFS News Link • Science

The Bizarre Bird That's Breaking the Tree of Life

• arclein

The rise of genome sequencing, at the turn of the twenty-first century, seemed to bring Darwin's dream within reach. "It is now realistic to conceive of reconstructing the entire Tree of Life?"eventually to include all of the living and extinct species," Joel Cracraft, the curator of birds at the American Museum of Natural History, wrote, in 2004. The naturalist E. O. Wilson predicted that such a tree could unify biology. Its value to such fields as agriculture, conservation, and medicine would be incalculable; evolutionary trees have already deepened our understanding of sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19. By mapping a major branch on the tree of life, B10K aims to light the way. When Stiller joined the project, her colleagues were combing through museums and laboratories to sample three hundred and sixty-three bird species, chosen carefully to represent the diversity of living birds. With help from four supercomputers in three different countries, they began to co