Are condors more closely related to hawks or to storks? New research constantly changes our understanding of how birds are related to each other. At the Field Museum, Shannon Hackett, John Bates, and Dave Willard keep close eyes on avian systematics, the study of evolutionary relationships among birds. In the past few years, Shannon has collaborated with researchers from other institutions on the Early Bird project to ask big-picture question of how all birds fit on the avian tree of life. Read more about Video: The Birds and the Trees
Beyond the reach of sunlight, thousands of feet below the surface of the ocean, some creatures create their own light known as "bioluminescence." Take a trip through the mind of Leo Smith, who asks questions about deep sea fish evolution. Patterns in diversity can offer clues to why fish have evolved so many ways of brightening up the deep sea. Some seem to use light to blend into their surroundings, others to lure prey out of the surroundings, or even to attract mates. Read more about Video: Leo on Bioluminescence
Species names are important, and much like the species they refer to, names often change over time, too. Taxonomists have been struggling to keep track of them all since the origins of natural history. Binomial nomenclature, the standardized way in which scientists name species, was a major breakthrough. Read more about Video: What's in a Name?