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.

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Teiids are skink-like lizards whose members show a stunning diversity of tooth types, providing rich evidence of convergence within the teiids themselves, in distantly related reptile groups and even in certain mammals and fish.

Spotlight on Research:

“Fungal farming in a snail”

B.R. Silliman & S.Y. Newell 2003, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, volume 100, pages 15643-15648.

Some terrestrial insects are well known for farming fungi, but this paper demonstrates that fungal agriculture has also evolved in the marine realm, in the North American marsh periwinkle (Littoraria irrorata). This snail feeds on an ascomycete fungus, which infects wounds inflicted by the snail on marsh grass leaves. Similar to human and other animal farmers, the snail even fertilises its crop.