This website aims to tell you nearly everything you need (and may ever want) to know about convergent evolution. It allows you to explore the way that similar adaptive solutions have repeatedly evolved from unrelated starting points on the tree of life, as though following a metaphorical ‘map’.
We have identified hundreds of examples of convergence, so if you want to learn about convergence in sex (e.g. love-darts), eyes (e.g. camera-eyes in jellyfish), agriculture (e.g. in ants) or gliding (e.g. in lizards and mammals) then this is your best port of call.
A note to all book-lovers out there: many of the examples of convergence mentioned in the Map of Life can be found in Simon Conway Morris’s latest book, The Runes of Evolution.
Any of the information presented in the Map of Life may be freely reproduced, as long as it is acknowledged fully. Citation details can be found at the bottom of each Topic page.
Showcase Topic: Silk production and use in arthropods
Remarkably, fossil silk is known, especially from amber of Cretaceous age. Material includes both silk with trapped insects, possibly from an orb-web, and strands with the characteristic viscid droplets that are the key in trapping prey.
Spotlight on Research:
“For whales and seals the ocean is not blue: a visual pigment loss in marine mammals”
L. Peichl, G. Behrmann & R.H.H. Kröger 2001, European Journal of Neuroscience, volume 13, pages 1520-1528.
Monochromatic vision, where the retina contains only one type of cone, has evolved a number of times independently in mammals. Whilst it seems to be the exception among terrestrial species, this paper provides evidence for monochromacy being the rule in marine mammals.
Please note: words or phrases shown in bold in the PRINT VERSION of this text normally indicate hyperlinks on the webpage. These generally return a list of search results based on that keyword.