- List of examples of convergent evolution
Convergent evolution- the evolution of similar traits in unrelated lineages - is rife in nature, as illustrated by the examples below.
marsupial Thylacine- Tasmanian Wolf, had many resemblances to the placental Canids.
*Several mammal groups have independently evolved prickly protrusions of the skin, called spines –
echidnas ( monotremes), the insectivorous hedgehogs, some tenrecs (a diverse group of shrew-like Madagascan mammals), Old World porcupines ( rodents) and New World porcupines (another biological family of rodents). In this case, because the two groups of porcupines are closely related, they would be considered to be examples of parallel evolution; however, neither echidnas, nor hedgehogs, nor tenrecs are close relatives of the Rodentia. In fact, the last common ancestor of all of these groups was a contemporary of the dinosaurs.
* Cat-like sabre-toothed predators evolved in three distinct lineages of mammals –
sabre-toothed cats, Nimravids ("false" sabre-tooths), and the marsupial "lion" " Thylacosmilus". Gorgonopsids and creodonts also developed long canine teeth, but with no other particular physical similarities.
* A number of mammals have developed powerful fore claws and long, sticky tongues that allow them to open the homes of social insects (e.g.,
ants and termites) and consume them (myrmecophagy). These include the four species of anteater, more than a dozen armadillos, eight species of pangolin(plus fossil species), the African aardvark, one echidna (an egg-laying monotreme), the enigmatic " Fruitafossor", the singular Australian marsupial known as the numbat, the aberrant Aardwolf, and possibly also the Sloth Bearof South Asia, all not related.
Koalasof Australasia have evolved fingerprints, very similar to those of humans.
* The Australian
honey possums acquired a long tongue for taking nectar from flowers, a structure similar to that of butterflies, some moths, and hummingbirds, and used to accomplish the very same task.
Marsupial Sugar Gliderand Squirrel Gliderof Australian are like the placental Flying Squirrel.
* The North American
kangaroo rat, Australian hopping mice, and North African and Asian jerboahave developed convergent adaptations for hot desert environments; these include a small rounded body shape with very large hind legs and long thin tails, a characteristic bipedalhop, and nocturnal, burrowing and seed-eating behaviours. These rodent groups fill similar niches in their respective ecosystems.
Opposums have evolved an opposable thumb, a feature which is also commonly found in the non-related primates.
Marsupial molehas many resemblances to the placentalMole.
Marsupial Mulgara- mouse has many resemblances to the placental mouse.
Planigalehas many resemblances to the Deer Mouse.
Marsupial Tasmanian Devilhas many resemblances to the placental Badger.
Kangaroohas many resemblances to the Patagonian Cavy.
Marsupial lionhad retractable claws, the same way the placental felines- catsdo today.
microbats and toothed whales developed sonar-like echolocation systems used for navigation and for locating prey.
* Both the
aye-ayelemur and the striped possumhave an elongated finger used to get bugs from trees. There are no woodpeckersin Madagascaror New Zealandwhere the species evolved, so the supply of bugs in trees was large.
Castorocaudaand beaverboth have webbed feet and a flattened tail, but are not related.
Prehensile tails came in to a number of unrelated species New World monkeys' kinkajous, porcupines, tree- aneaters, marsupial opposums, and the salamander Bolitoglossa pangolins, tree rats, skinksand chameleons.
* Pig form, large-headed, pig-snouted and hoofs are independent in true
pigs in Eurasiaand Peccaryand Enteledonts.
Planktonfeeding filters, baleen: Whale sharks and baleen whales, like the humpbackand blue whaleindependent have very sophisticated ways of sifting plankton from marine waters.; Dinosaurs
Ornithischian (bird-hipped) dinosaurs had a pelvis shape similar to that of birds, or avian dinosaurs, which evolved from saurischian (lizard-hipped) dinosaurs.
Heterodontosauridaeevolved a tibiotarsuswhich is also found in modern birds. These groups aren't closely related.
Ankylosaursand glyptodontmammals both had spiked tails.
* Horned snouts independently is on non=related dinosaurs like
ceratopsiansand Triceratops, also rhinos and the brontotheresof the Cenozoic.
* Billed snouts on the duck-billed dinosaurs
hadrosaursstrikingly convergent with ducks and duck-billed platypus.
Ichthyosaursa marine reptile of the Mesozoic era looked strikingly like porpoises.
* Beaks are independent in
ceratopsiandinosaurs like Triceratops, birds and marine molluskslike squidand octopus.;Avian
Little Aukof the north Atlantic ( Charadriiformes) and the diving-petrels of the southern oceans ( Procellariiformes) are remarkably similar in appearance and habits.
Penguins in the Southern Hemisphereevolved similarly to flightless wing-propelled diving auks in the Northern Hemisphere: the Atlantic Great Aukand the Pacificmancallines.
Vultures are a result of convergent evolution: both Old World vulturesand New World vultureseat carrion, but Old World vultures are in the eagle and hawk family ( Accipitridae) and use mainly eyesight for discovering food; the New World vultures are of obscure ancestry, and some use the sense of smell as well as sight in hunting. Birds of both families are very big, search for food by soaring, circle over sighted carrion, flock in trees, and have unfeathered heads and necks.
Hummingbirds resemble sunbirds. The former live in the Americasand belong to an order or superorder including the swifts, while the latter live in Africaand Asiaand are a family in the order Passeriformes.
longclaws ("Macronyx") and meadowlarks ("Sturnella") have essentially the same striking plumage pattern. The former inhabit Africa and the latter the Americas, and they belong to different lineages of Passerida. While they are ecologically quite similar, no satisfying explanation exists for the convergent plumage; it is best explained by sheer chance.
* Resemblances between
swiftsand swallowsis due to convergent evolution.
Downy Woodpeckerand Hairy Woodpeckerlook the same, but are convergent evolution.
birds of Australia, like wrensand robins, look like northern hemispherebirds but are not related. ;Reptiles
thorny devil("Moloch horridus") is similar in diet and activity patterns to the Texas horned lizard("Phrynosoma cornutum"), although the two are not particularly closely related.
Crocodiliansresemble prehistoric phytosaurs, champsosaurs, certain labyrinthodontamphibians, and perhaps even the early whale " Ambulocetus". The resemblance between the crocodilians and phytosaurs in particular is quite striking; even to the point of having evolved the graduation between narrow- and broad-snouted forms, due to differences in diet between particuler species in both groups.
* The body shape of the prehistoric fish-like reptile "
Ophthalmosaurus" is similar to those of other ichthyosaurians, dolphins(aquatic mammals), and tuna( scombridfish).
* Death Adders strongly resemble true vipers, but are elapids.
Tegulizards of South America have converged in form and ecology with monitor lizards, which are not present in the Americas.
* legless lizard-
Pygopodidaeare snake like lizard are much like true snakes.
Mosasaurs of the Mesozoic era are like whales but are closely related to living monitor lizardsand the Komodo Dragon.;Fish
Gobydorsal fin liked the lumpsuckers, yet not are related.
Sandlancefish and chameleons have independent eye movements.
Cichlidsof South America and the "sunfish" of North America are strikingly similar in morphology, ecology and behavior. The Peacock Bassand Largemouth Bassare excellent examples.
* The Antifreeze protein of fish in the
arcticand Antarctic, came about independently.
* Eel form are independent in the North American brook
lamprey, neotropicaleels, and the African spiny eel.;Amphibians
* Two lineages of frogs among the
Neobatrachiaare due to convergent evolution.
Neotropical poison dart frogand the Mantellaof Madagascarhave independently developed similar mechanisms for obtaining alkaloids from a diet of mites and storing the toxic chemicals in skin glands. They have also independently evolved similar bright skin colors that warn predators of their toxicity (by the opposite of crypsis, namely aposematism).;Arthropods
Assassin spiders comprise two lineages that evolved independently. They have very long necks and fangs proportionately larger than those of any other spider, and they hunt other spiders by snagging them from a distance.
* The smelling organs of the terrestrial
coconut crabare similar to those of insects.
Silk: Spiders, silk moths, larval caddis flies, and the weaver antall produce silken threads.
Praying mantisboby type:– raptorial forelimb, prehensile neck, and extraordinary snatching speed has evolved not only in mantid insects but also independently in neuropteraninsects Mantispidae.
Agriculturesome kinds of ants, termites, and ambrosia beetles have for a long time cultivated and tend fungifor food. These insects sow, fertilize, and weed their crops. A damselfishalso takes care of red algaecarpets on its piece of reef; the damselfish actively weeds out invading species of algae by nipping out the newcomer.;Molluscs
brachiopods(non-molluscs) and bivalvemolluscs have very similar shells.
* There are limpet-like forms in several lines of gastropods: "true"
limpets, pulmonate siphonariid limpets and several lineages of pulmonate freshwater limpets.
Cuttlefishshow similarities between cephalopodand vertebrateeyes.
* Swim bladders – Buoyant badders at independent in
fishes, female octopusand jellyfishlike the Portuguese Man o' War.
* Clamlike shells – Phylum
Molluscalike clams and oysters and the Phylum Brachiopodalike brachiopods and lampshells, independent have invented paired shells for protection. The anatomy of their soft body parts is so dissimilar, however, that they are regarded as separate, independent phyla. Biologists think that clams are more closely related to earthwormsthan they are to brachiopods.
Jet propulsionof squids and scallops, although both mollusks have independent very different ways of squeezing water through their bodies to power their movement through a fluid. Dragonfly larvae in the aquatic stage, use an anal jet to propel them. Jellyfishhave had jet propulsion a long time.
notochords in chordatesare like the stomochords in hemichordates.
Elvis taxonin the fossil record developed a similar morphology through convergent evolution.
Venomoussting: To inject poisonwith a hypodermic needle, a sharppointed tube, has shown up independently 10+ times: jellyfish, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, various insects, cone shell, snakes, stingrays, stonefish, the male duckbill platypus, and stinging nettlesplant.
blood– Vertebrates use ironto bind to oxygenfor transit through the blood system. Crustaceans and many mollusks use copperto bind oxygen in their blood system instead.
Bioluminescence: A symbioticpartnerships with light-emitting bacteriadeveloped many times independently in deep-sea fish, jellyfish, and in firefliesand glow worms.
Parthenogenesis: Some lizards and insects have independent the capacity for females to produce live young from un fertilized eggs. Some species are entirely female.
Leaveshave evolved multiple times - see Evolutionary history of plants.
* Prickles, thorns and spines are all modified plant tissues that have evolved to prevent or limit
herbivory, these structures have evolved independently a number of times.
* Hallucinogenic toxins: Plants as diverse as the peyotyl
cactusand the ayahuasca vineproduce the same form of chemical toxinto deter predators.
* The aerial rootlets found in
ivy("Hedera") are similar to those of the climbing hydrangea ("Hydrangea petiolaris") and some other vines. These rootlets are not derived from a common ancestor but have the same function of clinging to whatever support is available.
Insectivorousplants: Nitrogen-deficient plants have in at least 7 distinct times become insectivorous, like: flypaper traps sundew, spring traps- Venus fly trap, and pitcher traps in order to capture and digest insects to obtain scarce nitrogen.
* Similar-looking rosette
succulentshave arisen separately among plants in the families Asphodelaceae(formerly Liliaceae) and Crassulaceae.
* The "
Euphorbia" of deserts in Africa and southern Asia, and the Cactaceaeof the New World deserts have similar modifications (see picture below for one of many possible examples).
Enzymes and biochemical pathways
* The existence of distinct families of
carbonic anhydraseis believed to illustrate convergent evolution.
* The use of ("
Z")-7-dodecen-1-yl acetate as a sex pheromoneby the Asian elephant("Elephas maximus") and by more than 100 species of Lepidoptera.
* The independent development of the
catalytic triadin serine proteases independently with subtilisinin prokaryotes and the chymotrypsinclan in eukaryotes.
* The repeated independent evolution of
nylonasein two different strains of " Flavobacterium" and one strain of " Pseudomonas".
* The biosynthesis of plant hormones such as
gibberellinand abscisic acidby different biochemical pathways in plants and fungi.cite journal|author=Tudzynski B.|year= 2005|title=Gibberellin biosynthesis in fungi: genes, enzymes, evolution, and impact on biotechnology|journal=Appl Microbiol Biotechnol.|volume=66|pages=597–611|pmid=15578178 | doi = 10.1007/s00253-004-1805-1] cite journal|author=Siewers V, Smedsgaard J, Tudzynski P.|year= 2004|title=The P450 monooxygenase BcABA1 is essential for abscisic acid biosynthesis in Botrytis cinerea|journal=Appl Environ. Microbiol.|volume=70|pages=3868–3876|pmid=15240257 | doi = 10.1128/AEM.70.7.3868-3876.2004]
* [http://scoppi.biotec.tu-dresden.de/abac/ ABAC] is a database of convergently evolved protein interaction interfaces. Examples comprise fibronectin/long chain cytokines, NEF/SH2, cyclophilin/capsid proteins. Details are described [http://bioinformatics.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/bti782v1 here] .
* The independent development of three distinct
hydrogenases exemplifies convergent evolution.
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