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The Boston Globe


Evolution, visible on a branch near you

What could be a more ordinary sight than the robin, the red-breasted bird that hops around on the ground, yanking worms out of the dirt? Go out with a bunch of birdwatchers on a cold day near dawn and you’ll hear a sigh of disappointment when a bird in the distance turns out to be a boring old robin.

But Arkhat Abzhanov, associate professor of organismic and evolutionary biology at Harvard University, wonders: Have you ever really looked at a robin? What shape is its beak? What about its head?

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