Plants growing in the herbaceous layer of a forest can tell us an interesting story about the forest itself. Scientists from Russia and China conducted a study on the genetic diversity and evolution of the plant genus called Voronets. They examined the DNA of 32 crow species native to Eurasia and North America. Analysis of the genomes of these plants made it possible to build their evolutionary tree and determine their place of origin – this was the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
Crows first appeared in this region about 57 million years ago, and their distribution in North America began about 14 million years ago. Over time, they reached Europe, Japan and the island of Taiwan. Scientists realized that this process coincided with climate change and the emergence of certain tree species. Crows and broadleaf forests spread across the Northern Hemisphere during cooling periods that began about 43 million years ago.
This research not only expanded our knowledge of the evolution of crows, but also helped us understand how broadleaf forests emerged and spread. The impact of climate change on these processes was also emphasized. The study was supported by the Russian Science Foundation and published in the journal Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.
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