Some 10,500 bird species are inhabiting the Earth today, but almost six hundred species have already gone extinct in historic times as a result of human activities, primarily due to deforestation and hunting (Sayol et al., 2020).
The main radiations within Neognathae occurred around 65 mya, following the Chicxulub asteroid impact on the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico 66 mya, which sealed the demise of non-avian dinosaurs.
Time-calibrated phylogenies, in which branch lengths are proportional to time, are usually referred to as chronograms or timetrees. The putative relationships among avian orders, which in birds are traditionally indicated by the suffix "iformes", are shown in the following timetree:
Order-level timetree of Aves according to Kuhl et al. (2021). Crown-group ages are indicated by blue lines. For orders that contain more than one family, crown group ages were derived from Kuhl et al. (2021, fig.3). Note that the clade name 'Passerea', which has been introduced by Jarvis et al. (2014), originally had a slightly different meaning and did not include Columbiformes, Mesitornithiformes, and Pterocliformes.
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