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: Autumn leaf colouration
Autumn colours are likely to be adaptive, as the 'default' is simply to remain green up to leaf fall, and both red and yellow leaf colouration have evolved independently on many occasions in gymnosperms and woody angiosperms.
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.
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