This website aims to tell you nearly everything you need (and may ever want) to know about convergent evolution. It allows y ou 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.
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: Mammal-like placentation in skinks (and fish)
“Only two types of vertebrates [have] evolved a reproductive pattern in which the chorioallantoic placenta provides the nutrients for fetal development. One is [...] the eutherian mammals […], and the other, a few lineages of the family Scincidae.” A.F. Flemming (2003) J Exp Zool 299A 33-47
Spotlight on Research:
“Insect-like olfactory adaptations in the terrestrial giant robber crab”
M.C. Stensmyr, S. Erland, E. Hallberg, R. Wallén, P. Greenaway & B.S. Hansson 2005, Current Biology, volume 15, pages 116-121.
Crabs provide a rich source of insights into convergence, and a particularly striking example is “the insect nose of the robber crab”, which is described in this paper. This mainly nocturnal omnivore has an excellent sense of smell, and its olfactory system of robber crabs shows remarkable analogies to that of insects in terms of physiology, morphology and behaviour.