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: Cichlids
Cichlids are one of the cause celebré of evolution, and rightly so because these freshwater fish show a remarkable diversity and exemplify many key aspects of adaptive radiation. But why so successful? The answer lies in the versatility of the jaws (and yes, they are convergent).
Spotlight on Research:
“Discovery of a glowing millipede in California and the gradual evolution of bioluminescence in Diplopoda”
Marek, P. E. and Moore, W. (2015). PNAS, volume 112, number 20, 6419-6424.
New World millipede Xystocheir (Motyxia) bistipita is rediscovered and found to be bioluminescent and sister to the only other known bioluminescent millipede genus, Motyxia. Gradual evolution of brighter and brighter luminescence in the lineage is proposed, with Motyxia using light as an aposematic warning of its cyanide-based toxins.
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