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

Read more about the project...

Ever tried eating a newspaper? Don't. Plant cell walls contain cellulose, which is notoriously difficult to digest. Considering that all vertebrates lack the enzymes to attack this polysaccharide, how do so many of them manage to survive on a plant diet?

Spotlight on Research:

“A Jurassic avialan dinosaur from China resolves the early phylogenetic history of birds”

Godefroit, P. Et al, Nature 498, 359–362 (20 June 2013) doi:10.1038/nature12168

Godefroit et al. present Aurornis xui, a feathered dinosaur uncovered from Mid-Late Jurassic strata in the Liaoning Province of China. The authors' phylogenetic analysis suggests that Aurornis appeared around 10 Ma earlier than the iconic Archaeopteryx. Aurornis (and its relative Anchiornis) are inferred to be more basal than Archaeopteryx in the Avialae, the group that leads to and includes the true birds. This casts doubt on Archaeopteryx's position as the earliest bird and, in spite of the continuing debate on this subject, infers that powered flight using feathered forearms may have only evolved once.