Down feather morphology reflects adaptation to habitat and thermal conditions across the avian phylogeny

Peter Laszlo Pap, Gergely Osváth, Timea Daubner, Andreas Nord & Orsolya Vincze
Down feathers are the first feather types that appear in both the phylogenetic and the ontogenetic history of birds. Although it is widely acknowledged that the primary function of downy elements is insulation, little is known about the interspecific variability in the structural morphology of these feathers, and the environmental factors that have influenced their evolution. Here, we collected samples of down and afterfeathers from 156 bird species and measured key morphological characters that define...
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