Claws and effect: Birds talented with their talons share common ancient ancestor

From parrots to raptors, birds that demonstrate dexterity with their claws share a common ancient ancestor, new research suggests.

A study from the University of Alberta, published Aug. 15 in the journal Communications Biology, examines the evolution of bird bodies — namely, their feet.

Researchers aiming to better understand how the brains of these birds are different from their less-dexterous counterparts turned bird-loving shutterbugs into citizen scientists. 

Relying on thousands of images shared by birders on the internet, researchers investigated how some birds became more talented with their talons — and how the world’s first birds gave rise to the diversity of bird species we know today. 

Cristian Gutiérrez-Ibáñez, a U of A neurobiologist and

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