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: Camera eyes in vertebrates, cephalopods and other animals
Camera eyes are superb optical devices, so it is not surprising that they have evolved several times. But why, of all animals, in the brainless jellyfish? Or for that matter in a slow-moving snail?
Spotlight on Research:
“Adaptive evolution of tetrodotoxin resistance in animals”
T.W. Soong & B. Venkatesh 2006, Trends in Genetics, volume 22, pages 621-626
Tetrodotoxin, one of the most powerful neurotoxins known, occurs in pufferfish and a variety of other animals. Not only its possession but also the resistance to this lethal toxin is convergent. This review focuses on the mechanisms of tetrodotoxin resistance in different groups.
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