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Echolocation in bats
How can bats navigate in total darkness amongst trees and branches, but still locate a tiny, fluttering insect with extraordinary acuity? All made possible through echolocation, an astonishing sensory mechanism…
Vibrational communication in animals
What on earth could an elephant or treehoppers have in common with a seismometer?
Pressure sensitivity and the tactile sense (excluding the lateral line)
The star-nosed mole is famous for, well, its nose, but do you have any idea what these peculiar 'tentacles' are for? The answer is rather touching and, of course, convergent...
Foam nests in animals
Nests crop up everywhere, but one made out of foam? Might not sound like a great idea, but it is. And no surprise, it has evolved several times...
Lateral line system in fish and other animals
Some cavefish are completely blind, so how do they manage to navigate through their environment with astonishing ease?
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.
Teiid lizard dentition: convergence with other reptiles, mammals and fish
Teiids are skink-like lizards whose members show a stunning diversity of tooth types, providing rich evidence of convergence within the teiids themselves, in distantly related reptile groups and even in certain mammals and fish.
Complex tooth occlusion in notosuchid crocodiles and tritylodonts (proto-mammals)
Two unusual Early Cretaceous crocodiles provide a shining example of convergence, as their dentition parallels that observed in a group of advanced proto-mammals called tritylodonts.
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.
Echolocation in toothed whales and ground-dwelling mammals
Given the extraordinary powers of echolocation in bats, it is not surprising that this group has received the most attention. However, they are not the only mammals to have evolved echolocation. Who invented sonar millions of years before the Navy?
Infrared detection in snakes
Warm-blooded rodents watch out! There are heat-sensing predators on the prowl...
Tool use in birds
What animals can drop stones into a water-filled tube to bring floating food within reach or bend wire to form a hook? Obviously chimpanzees? No, New Caledonian crows have evolved sophisticated tool use too.
Ants: insights into convergence
Trap-jaws, silk and agriculture – just a few examples of convergence in the arguably most successful group of insects, the ants…
Octopus and other cephalopods: convergence with vertebrates
What could be more different from us than the alien-like octopus? Hold on. Look it in the eye and think again.