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.

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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.

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A number of reptile species have been discovered in the Mesozoic fossil record, bearing feathers that were apparently used to support gliding locomotion, rather than true, powered flight as we see in present day birds.

Spotlight on Research:

“Convergent sequence evolution between echolocating bats and dolphins”

Y. Liu, J.A. Cotton, B. Shen, X. Han, S.J. Rossiter & S. Zhang 2010, Current Biology, volume 20, pages R53-R54

Two groups of mammals, bats and toothed whales, have evolved sophisticated echolocation. Despite their many differences, certain anatomical convergences associated with this sensory capacity have been revealed, and this study provides evidence for molecular convergence. It shows multiple parallel amino acid changes in Prestin, a motor protein that seems to be responsible for high-frequency sensitivity and selectivity in the auditory system of mammals.