Welcome!

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.

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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.

Read more about the project…

Compound eyes have evolved convergently in the annelids, notably amongst the sabellids, where they evidently serve as an optical alarm system.

Spotlight on Research:

“Behavioural evidence for marsupial trichromacy”

C.A. Arrese, L.D. Beazley & C. Neumeyer, Current Biology, volume 16, pages R193-R194.

Trichromatic colour vision amongst mammals was long thought to be unique to primates, but then three spectrally distinct cone types were detected in some marsupials. This article complements physiological studies of photoreceptors by providing behavioural evidence for trichromacy in some of these marsupials.