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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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.

Spotlight on Research:

“Tactile hairs on the postcranial body in Florida manatees: A mammalian lateral line?”

R.L. Reep, C.D. Marshall & M.L. Stoll 2002, Brain, Behavior and Evolution, volume 59, pages 141-154.

An important sensory system of fish is the lateral line, which consists of rows of mechanosensory cells that perceive pressure changes transmitted through water. Upon terrestrialisation, this sense was lost, but analogues might have evolved in some secondarily aquatic mammals. This study examines tactile hairs on the body of manatees, which inhabit turbid waters and have poor visual capacities and might thus benefit from a lateral line equivalent.