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, 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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Among reptile taxa with beak structures, we find several cases of convergent evolution, for example between turtles, Uromastyx lizards, a number of herbivorous dinosaurs and the tuatara (Sphenodon) of New Zealand.

Spotlight on Research:

“Directed aerial descent in canopy ants”

S.P. Yanoviak, R. Dudley & M. Kaspari 2005, Nature, volume 433, pages 624-626

Many non-flying vertebrates that live in trees use gliding or parachuting to move from tree to tree. Gliding allows animals such as 'flying' squirrels, frogs and Draco lizards to escape predators or search for food effectively. This paper demonstrates a similar ability to control descent through the air in tree-dwelling ants of the species Cephalotes atratus. These neo-tropical ants use visual cues and fall abdomen first, the shape of their bodies being aerodynamically adapted for a directionally controlled descent.