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Secondary xylem (wood) in vascular plants
Evolution of wood in plants as distantly related as lignophytes, Calamites and Lepidodendron is an elegant example of convergent evolution. Plants responded in a similar way to a need for better structural support as they diversified and increased in size.
Torus-margo pits in vascular plant xylem
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.
Xylem vessels in vascular plants
Vessels are characteristic of the angiosperms, and yet they have evolved independently in several other groups, including the lycophyte Selaginella, horse-tail Equisetum and the enigmatic Gnetales.
Autumn leaf colouration
Autumn colours are likely to be adaptive, as the 'default' is simply to remain green up to leaf fall, and both red and yellow leaf colouration have evolved independently on many occasions in gymnosperms and woody angiosperms.
Dental batteries in ceratopsians, hadrosaurs and elephants
The dental batteries or 'pavements' of ceratopsians and hadrosaurs evolved independently, and yet the dentition of several more distantly related animals also converges on their highly adapted tooth form.
Reptile dentition: convergence on complex occlusion
Some reptiles have transverse chisel-like teeth for slicing, and others have teeth bearing projections ('cusps') that interlock and slice or grind tough food. In each case evolutionary parallels are clear both within and outside the reptiles.
Beak structures in reptiles and birds
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.