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Dino-Birds? How Modern Evolutionary Biology has changed our Understanding of Bird Diversity

Are some dinosaurs still walking, flying, swimming on Earth today?  Is the combination word dino-bird a reality? In the last of the five lectures, attendees will learn the true meaning in the title of the lecture series and exhibition, "BIRDS: Enduring Feathered Creatures."

Ornithologist Jacob Berv will examine bird ancestry and evolutionary history in his lecture "Dino-Birds? How Modern Evolutionary Biology has changed our Understanding of Bird Diversity." The event, which is free and open to the public, takes place in Orange Hall Gallery at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 20.

“After the asteroid impact which wiped out the non-avian dinosaurs -- 66 million years ago,” explains Berv, “modern birds diversified explosively into the over 10,000 species that we observe today. When did modern birds evolve? What are the relationships among the modern bird groups, and what do those relationships tell us about bird evolutionary history? Combining modern statistical tools with genomics may provide answers to some of the deepest questions about the origins of avian biodiversity.” During his talk, Berv will discuss the principles of phylogenetic [family] tree thinking, the comparative method in modern evolutionary biology, and his own “research into understanding the exciting story of bird evolution.”

Berv is an engaging person whose enthusiasm about his specialty encourages him to share his knowledge. Helped by the 21 grants and fellowships he has received during the last eight years, he has conducted research on three continents. He has presented at numerous scientific conferences and had his photographs published and received awards. He holds a BS in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Yale University, and is a PhD candidate in the Fuller Evolutionary Biology program of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell University.

Questions may be directed to and (845) 341-4891. You may also check out the Cultural Affairs website at

Event date, time and location.

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Dorothy Szefc
Cultural Affairs