This website aims to tell you nearly everything you need (and may ever want) to know about convergent evolution. It allows y ou 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.

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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.

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One of the most well known examples of convergence among birds is between hummingbirds, sunbirds and honeyeaters, all of which are small, dominantly nectar-feeding birds.

Spotlight on Research:

“The function of the cosmetic coloration of bearded vultures: when art imitates life”

J. J. NEGRO*, A. MARGALIDA†, F. HIRALDO* & R. HEREDIA, Animal Behaviour 1999, vol 58, F14-F17

Bearded vultures apply reddish colour to their pale underbellies, head and neck by rubbing themselves in iron oxide stained water and mud. Whether the redness serves as a dominance signal, for sexual selection or originates from its anti-bacterial properties is debated, but these birds certainlyl impress with their unique eye for cosmetics!