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: Compound eyes in sabellid annelids
Compound eyes have evolved convergently in the annelids, notably amongst the sabellids, where they evidently serve as an optical alarm system.
Spotlight on Research:
“Bat echolocation calls: adaptation and convergent evolution”
G. Jones & M.W. Holderied 2007, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B, volume 274, pages 905-921.
The echolocation calls of bats are extremely plastic and diverse. As they are used to probe the environment, call design is largely shaped by the bat’s ecology. Thus, distantly related species foraging in similar habitats have independently evolved very similar calls, representing excellent examples of convergence. This review summarises evidence for the repeated evolution of particular signal types in several lineages of bats.
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