Birds included within the Carduelini tribe (genera Rhodopechys, Carpodacus and Leucosticte) apparently belong
to the same radiation according to molecular phylogenetic analyses. Our phylogenetic analyses based on nucleotide
sequences of the cytochrome b gene (cyt-b) indicate that some of these birds (Rhodopechys mongolica, R. githaginea and
Carpodacus nipalensis) do not cluster together with their respective phenetically defined allies. This new group of birds
thrives in both hot and cold arid zones and are phenetically distinct, probably because of their adaptation to different extreme
environments. Both maximum likelihood and Bayesian inference methods support the existence of this new evolutionary
basal group among finches which might have originated about 14 million years ago.