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: Octopus arm function
If you want to see a truly remarkable example of convergence, then present an octopus with a piece of food and have a high-speed camera ready…
Spotlight on Research:
“Young fire ant workers feign death and survive aggressive neighbors”
L. Cassill, K. Vo & B. Becker 2008, Naturwissenschaften, volume 95, pages 617-624.
Death feigning as a defensive response is very widespread amongst animals, and this paper reports a particularly interesting insect example. In the highly territorial fire ant Solenopsis invicta, neighbouring colonies are at war, and their aggressive workers fight each other to the death. The youngest workers, however, feign death, which increases their chances of survival significantly compared to older ones that flee or fight.
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