Convergent Evolution | Introduction & Examples

By | September 30, 2019

Convergent Evolution

Convergent Evolution Definition

The convergent evolution is a process by which the organisms which are not closely related independently have evolved the same features. The adaptions can occur to the form of similar body features, colors, organs and the other adaptions that make the phenotype of an organism.

The convergent evolution produces analogous structure or homoplasies, which have similar features between diverged species but were not present in common ancestor of both. While homologous structure can indicate a divergence form of the common ancestor.

Convergent Evolution

What Is Evolution?

Evolution is basically defined as a variation or changes that take place within species over time. So that there are various phenomena which can happen to initiate the evolution process. For an instant, Charles Darwin’s planned the idea of natural selection and artificial selection (human-created) and discriminatory breeding. During this, various processes yield much quicker outcomes than other procedures, but in short, all these procedures may lead to a variety of natural life on Earth.

As we know that one mode of species modification over time is called Convergent Evolution. Convergent Evolution basically happens when two species, which are not associated through a topical common predecessor, become more analogous or similar.

The big reason overdue to convergent evolution is to build-up variations overtime period to complete a firm niche. When the comparable niches are accessible in diverse geographical locations, various species will fill Niche. With the passage of time variations with in the species in the Niche of the specific environment produce comparable advantageous characters in diverse species.

Convergent Evolution

Characteristic of Convergent Evolution

Convergent Evolution characters are described below:

  1. Species that are connected through convergent evolution often look extremely similar. However, they’re not closely connected on the tree of life.
  2. While within the environment it happened most of the time that their roles in their individual environments are offensively similar and they need indistinguishable variations, to achieve success and to reproduce.
  3. Over time, exclusively those people with favorable distinctions of individuals within niche and atmosphere can survive whereas the others go away from the environment.
  4. This modified species is well harmonized with its role and may still able to reproduce and produce modified future generations of offspring.
  5. Most cases of Converging evolution occur in offensively different geographic areas of the world.
  6. However, the general climate and atmosphere in those areas are similar, creating it a necessity to own completely different species that may seal an identical niche.
  7. In different words, the two completely different species have converged, or become additional similar, to fill niches

Convergent Evolution

Examples of Convergent Evolution:

The examples of convergent evolution are given below:

  • Convergent Evolution of Wings:

A widespread example used for convergent evolution is the wing evolution and has the power of flight in birds, bats and pterosaurs, each belongs with a different class of organism and have very distant in common ancestors.

The different structures of the wing of birds, bats and pterosaurs are supported by five modified fingered limb. Each of limb contains a humerus a radius and ulna, a thumb and finger bones, and it is homologous structure consists of same bones which make the limbs of many animals including humans, whales, and crocodiles.

The birds and pterosaurs share a very distant common ancestor, and the birds also share a common ancestor with bats. In each of these, the wing is analogous structure because bones have arranged differently to achieve a functionally similar structure independently.

Convergent Evolution

  • Convergent Evolution between Placental Mammals and Marsupials:

The placental mammals that have offspring undergo gestation in the uterus and born fairly advanced, while the marsupials are those whose offspring are born very immature and continue to develop in the pouch on the body of the mother. The mammals occupied niches in Europe, Africa, and America, while the marsupials occupy a similar niche in Australia and the surrounding island. The animals from each group have developed similar analogous structures which depend on the factors including their habitat, feeding habits, and locomotion requirements.

Convergent Evolution

Example of Convergent Evolution in Plants

  • Plants also can pass by convergent evolution to become additional similar. In various desert plants have evolved somewhat of a holding chamber for water within their structures.
  • While the deserts of Africa and those in North America have similar climates, but the species of flora there don’t seem to be closely connected on the tree of life or to Ancestors.
  • Instead, they evolved thorns for defense and also for holding chambers for water to stay them alive through long periods of no rain within the hot climates.
  • Some desert plants even have evolved the power to store Sunlight during the daytime hours and also perform photosynthesis in the dark to avoid a large amount of water evaporation.
  • These plants on completely different continents of the World adapted this manner independently and don’t seem to be closely connected by a recent common ancestor.

Convergent Evolution

Convergent Evolution

Some Other Examples of Convergent Evolution:

There are many other examples are present for convergent evolution as:

  • The evolution of complex eyes in vertebrates, Cephalopods, and Arthropods.
  • The Phylum Mollusks and Brachiopods species modification of Bivalve paired shell.
  • The Modification within Silkworms, Spiders Silk Moths and Weaver Ants to produce silk.
  • The long structures (tongues and beaks) evolved for collecting nectar in hummingbirds, bees, moths, and butterflies.
  • Evolution of spines on the bodies of Phylum Echinoderms species Echidnas (Monotremes), Hedgehogs (Phylum Mammalia) and Porcupines (Class Rodents).
  • The development of the woody stem within Horsetails, seed plants, and trees.
  • The development of ridge construction ability of many sea life organisms. For Example Corals, cnidarians, sponges, and bacteria,
  • The evolution of eyespots on wings of butterflies and tail of the fish.
  • The filter-feeding in many whales, sharks and manta rays.
  • The evolution of woody stem in seed plants, horsetails, and trees.
  • The evolution within complex eyes structure of vertebrates. For example, Phylum Arthropods (Crustaceans, Insects, and Spiders) and Phylum Cephalopods (Squid and Octopus).
  • Modification within the streamlined body shape of Sharks, Dolphins, and Ichthyosaurs.
  • The echolocation evolution within  Whales.