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New bird species may come from surprising biodiversity ‘cold spots’

Credit:Ciro Albano

In a study recently published in the journal Science, a global team of researchers surveyed more than 1200 suboscine bird species

Ciro Albano

Suboscine birds are a type of perching bird native to South America. They differ from oscines, which are your typical songbirds.

Credit:Ciro Albano

photo by Mike Lanzetta

We expect bird species to be more diverse in the tropics, which are known as biodiversity 'hot spots.'

Jose A. Bernat Bacete

But the study reveals new suboscine bird species actually emerge more quickly from so-called 'cold spots.'

Anna Gorin

These cold spots include more extreme temperature environments, like the wind-swept mountains of the Peruvian Andes.

Hot spots like the Amazon rainforest are "places where lots of species live currently," but not "exactly engines of new species formation" according to Michael G. Harvey, lead author on the study.

Joanne Hedger

Charles Harker

The study gives a reason for scientists to consider conservation efforts in not just the tropics, but in these 'cold spots' too.

Anand Purohit

The study was also critical for its diversity behind the scenes, featuring key contributions from women and Latinx ornithologists around the world.

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