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: Light producing chemicals: how to make bioluminescence
The most remarkable luciferin in terms of its distribution is known as coelenterazine. This nitrogen-ring based molecule is found in nine separate groups, ranging from radiolarians to fish.
Spotlight on Research:
“Evolution and selection of trichromatic vision in primates”
A.K. Surridge, D. Osorio & N.I. Mundy 2003, Trends in Ecology and Evolution, volume 18, pages 198-205
Although vertebrates are primitively tetrachromatic, having four different types of cone cells, each sensitive to distinct light spectra, most mammals are dichromates. In primates, however, trichromatic vision has re-evolved several times independently, which is the subject of this review.
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