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.

Follow the Map of Life on Twitter, Facebook or visit our Blog for fresh updates on the incredible world of convergent evolution.

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…

Showcase Topic: Monochromacy in mammals

Underwater environments are dominated by blue light. Ironically, whales and seals cannot see blue, because they have independently lost their short-wavelength opsins.

Spotlight on Research:

“Hear, hear: the convergent evolution of echolocation in bats?”

E.C. Teeling 2009, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, volume 24, pages 351-354

There is still controversy surrounding the evolutionary origins of laryngeal echolocation in bats, which revolves around how one chooses to interpret bat systematics. This review discusses recent findings from genetic studies with respect to the question how many times this astonishing sensory capacity evolved in bats.