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, 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.

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, in the format: Map of Life – “Topic title”, Topic web page address, Month/Year downloaded

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Torus-margo pits probably evolved once in the gymnosperms, after the split of more advanced gymnosperms from the cycads. Surprisingly, eight genera from five families of angiosperms, which are characterised by highly effective xylem vessels, have also evolved torus-margo structures.

Spotlight on Research:

“Foregut fermentation in the hoatzin, a Neotropical leaf-eating bird”

A. Grajal, S.D. Strahl, R. Parra, M.G. Dominguez & A. Neher 1989, Science, volume 245, pages 1236-1238.

Leaves are notoriously difficult to break down, so most herbivores have evolved specialised guts with fermentation chambers. Foregut fermentation is best known from ruminant mammals, but constitutes in fact a prime example of evolutionary convergence. This paper describes foregut fermentation in a bird, the South American hoatzin.