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: Pufferfish (and inflation)
Pufferfish are some of the most extraordinary fish to have evolved, especially because of their capacity to swallow water and inflate themselves to something like a football. Not only that but some representatives can be deadly to the unwary diner...
Spotlight on Research:
“Right-handed snakes: convergent evolution of asymmetry for functional specialization”
Masaki Hoso, Takahiro Asami and Michio Hori. Biol. Lett. (2007) 3, 169–172.
Snail-eating snake Pareas iwasakii has asymmetric jaws that work to efficiently extract snail soft-parts from right-coiling shells.
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.