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: Electroreception in fish, amphibians and monotremes
From an evolutionary point of view, electroreception is particularly intriguing as a sense modality that has been repeatedly lost and reinvented again.
Spotlight on Research:
“Specializations of the Chorioallantoic Placenta in the Brazilian Scincid Lizard, Mabuya heathi: A New Placental Morphotype for Reptiles”
G. Blackburn & L.J. Vitt 2002, Journal of Morphology, volume 254, pages 121-131.
Female skinks of the genus Mabuya provide almost all the nutrients their developing embryos need through a placental structure. The Brazilian species Mabuya heathi exhibits an extreme placentation type with several specialisations that converge on those of the eutherian mammal placenta.
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