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eNewsletter www.songbirdremix.com May 2015

Final Days to Give a Hoot!

Songbird ReMix Owls of the World Volume 2: The Crested Owl

The Crested Owl from South America is one of the 11 owls featured in Songbird ReMix Owls of the World Volume 2.  It's introductory sale ends on May 18th is $17.47 (or up to 15% less if you use Reward Points)

New Projects -- Second Half of the 2015

I planned out my next few projects for Songbird ReMix.  Hopefully, you'll be as excited about them as I am. While I'm technically on vacation, I've found myself creating new birds for fun, so my first release of the second half of 2015 is looking like a 5th volume of Birds of Prey featuring many of the Falcons, Hawks and Eagles I had to cut to make the first four volume manageable sizes.  This set will include the Stellar's and White-breasted Sea Eagles  as well as the Laughing Falcon, Rough-legged and Ferruginous Hawks and 8 other species.  Probably in early summer I'll moved to my 3-volume set of Birds of Asia. I have rough PDF manuals with some photo references "Storks to Bee-eaters", "Rollers to Sunbirds" and "Spiderhunters to Buntings and Weavers".  These volumes may be sprinkled throughout the year and in-between other projects.  One project with a definite date is my "Frogmouths, Nightjars & Goatsuckers" which I want for a Halloween release.  Other prospective projects include "Hornbills", "Peafowl" and "Emus, Ratites & Cassowaries".  Some of these project will probably end up in 2016's line-up.

Owls of the World Volume 1: How to Get the Free Owls Update

On April 27th, I re-released Songbird ReMix Owls (which I did back in 2010) with a Major Update. If you bought Owls through Hivewire3D, simply reloaded the Owls set from your account page.  Hivewire3D (my current publisher) will honor your Songbird ReMix purchases at DAZ for updates provided you open a Hivewire3D account and provide some form of Proof of Purchase (such as a screen capture of the Songbird ReMix packages you own listed in the DAZ Download Manager or your DAZ account Page). Email Ken with the screen capture and the email your Hivewire3D account is under and he'll get the updated files linked to your Hivewire3D account.



Real Birds: How Bird Beaks Got Their Start As Dinosaur Snouts

by NPR.org

Scientists say they have reversed a bit of bird evolution in the lab and re-created a dinosaurlike snout in developing chickens.

"In this work, we can clearly see a comeback of the characteristics which we see in some of the first birds," says Arhat Abzhanov, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard University.

The ancestors of birds are a group of dinosaurs that includes the famous velociraptor, Abzhanov says. This group of meat-eaters had long snouts, small brains and eyes, and lots of teeth. Somehow they transformed into birds, which have none of those things.

Bhart-Anjan Bhullar, another member of the research team at Yale University, says the goal is to understand exactly how birds became birds. "What's the deep history of birdiness?" wonders Bhullar. "How did the different parts of their body plan form?"

In particular, he and his colleagues are interested in birds' distinctive beak, which Bhullar calls "this insane sort of snout that they have."

To hunt for clues about the origin of the beak, the researchers have been studying various kinds of animal embryos, from birds like emus and chickens to nonbird reptiles like alligators, which are birds' closest living relatives.

Their work led them to two specific genes. These genes are active in the middle of the face-forming region of bird embryos, but not in the middle of that region in the embryos of other animals.

Bhullar says he remembers the night he put the altered, developing chicks under a microscope, and saw that they had unusual, broad snouts.

"That was a pretty remarkable moment," he recalls. "That's a moment that will stay with me, I think."

Instead of the normal bone structure that would form a beak, he says, these protochickens had a pair of small, rounded bones that looked "like those in a dinosaur, like archaeopteryx or velociraptor, or in any other reptile like an alligator."

A report on the study appears this week in the journal Evolution. But don't expect the scientists to create lab-grown dinosaurs that would be a whole lot harder than just trying to restore some of the traits that existed in the first birds.


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