List of examples of convergent evolution


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.

In animals

;Mammals
* The 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 Bear of South Asia, all not related.
* Koalas of 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 Glider and Squirrel Glider of Australian are like the placental Flying Squirrel.
* The North American kangaroo rat, Australian hopping mice, and North African and Asian jerboa have 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 bipedal hop, 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 mole has many resemblances to the placental Mole.
* Marsupial Mulgara - mouse has many resemblances to the placental mouse.
* Planigale has many resemblances to the Deer Mouse.
* Marsupial Tasmanian Devil has many resemblances to the placental Badger.
* Kangaroo has many resemblances to the Patagonian Cavy.
* The Marsupial lion had retractable claws, the same way the placental felines - cats do today.
* Both microbats and toothed whales developed sonar-like echolocation systems used for navigation and for locating prey.
* Both the aye-aye lemur and the striped possum have an elongated finger used to get bugs from trees. There are no woodpeckers in Madagascar or New Zealand where the species evolved, so the supply of bugs in trees was large.
* Castorocauda and beaver both 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, treerats, skinks and chameleons.
* Pig form, large-headed, pig-snouted and hoofs are independent in true pigs in Eurasia and Peccary and Enteledonts.
* Plankton feeding filters, baleen: Whale sharks and baleen whales, like the humpback and blue whale independent 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.
* the Heterodontosauridae evolved a tibiotarsus which is also found in modern birds. These groups aren't closely related.
* Ankylosaurs and glyptodont mammals both had spiked tails.
* Horned snouts independently is on non=related dinosaurs like ceratopsians and Triceratops, also rhinos and the brontotheres of the Cenozoic.
* Billed snouts on the duck-billed dinosaurs hadrosaurs strikingly convergent with ducks and duck-billed platypus.
* Ichthyosaurs a marine reptile of the Mesozoic era looked strikingly like porpoises.
* Beaks are independent in ceratopsian dinosaurs like Triceratops, birds and marine mollusks like squid and octopus.;Avian
* The Little Auk of the north Atlantic (Charadriiformes) and the diving-petrels of the southern oceans (Procellariiformes) are remarkably similar in appearance and habits.
* Penguins in the Southern Hemisphere evolved similarly to flightless wing-propelled diving auks in the Northern Hemisphere: the Atlantic Great Auk and the Pacific mancallines.
* Vultures are a result of convergent evolution: both Old World vultures and New World vultures eat 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 Americas and belong to an order or superorder including the swifts, while the latter live in Africa and Asia and are a family in the order Passeriformes.
* Certain 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 swifts and swallows is due to convergent evolution.
* Downy Woodpecker and Hairy Woodpecker look the same, but are convergent evolution.
* Many birds of Australia, like wrens and robins, look like northern hemisphere birds but are not related. ;Reptiles
* The 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.
* Modern Crocodilians resemble prehistoric phytosaurs, champsosaurs, certain labyrinthodont amphibians, 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 (scombrid fish).
* Death Adders strongly resemble true vipers, but are elapids.
* Large Tegu lizards of South America have converged in form and ecology with monitor lizards, which are not present in the Americas.
* legless lizard-Pygopodidae are snake like lizard are much like true snakes.
* Mosasaurs of the Mesozoic era are like whales but are closely related to living monitor lizards and the Komodo Dragon.;Fish
* Goby dorsal fin liked the lumpsuckers, yet not are related.
* Sandlance fish and chameleons have independent eye movements.
*Cichlids of South America and the "sunfish" of North America are strikingly similar in morphology, ecology and behavior. The Peacock Bass and Largemouth Bass are excellent examples.
* The Antifreeze protein of fish in the arctic and Antarctic, came about independently.
* Eel form are independent in the North American brook lamprey, neotropical eels, and the African spiny eel.;Amphibians
* Two lineages of frogs among the Neobatrachia are due to convergent evolution.
* The Neotropical poison dart frog and the Mantella of Madagascar have 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 crab are similar to those of insects.
* Silk: Spiders, silk moths, larval caddis flies, and the weaver ant all produce silken threads.
* Praying mantis boby type:– raptorial forelimb, prehensile neck, and extraordinary snatching speed has evolved not only in mantid insects but also independently in neuropteran insects Mantispidae.
* Agriculture some kinds of ants, termites, and ambrosia beetles have for a long time cultivated and tend fungi for food. These insects sow, fertilize, and weed their crops. A damselfish also takes care of red algae carpets on its piece of reef; the damselfish actively weeds out invading species of algae by nipping out the newcomer.;Molluscs
* The brachiopods (non-molluscs) and bivalve molluscs 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.
* Cuttlefish show similarities between cephalopod and vertebrate eyes.
* Swim bladders – Buoyant badders at independent in fishes, female octopus and jellyfish like the Portuguese Man o' War.
* Clamlike shells – Phylum Mollusca like clams and oysters and the Phylum Brachiopoda like 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 earthworms than they are to brachiopods.
* Jet propulsion of 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. Jellyfish have had jet propulsion a long time.

;Other
* The notochords in chordates are like the stomochords in hemichordates.
* Elvis taxon in the fossil record developed a similar morphology through convergent evolution.
* Venomous sting: To inject poison with 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 nettles plant.
* Oxygenate bloodVertebrates use iron to bind to oxygen for transit through the blood system. Crustaceans and many mollusks use copper to bind oxygen in their blood system instead.
* Bioluminescence: A symbiotic partnerships with light-emitting bacteria developed many times independently in deep-sea fish, jellyfish, and in fireflies and glow worms.
* Parthenogenesis: Some lizards and insects have independent the capacity for females to produce live young from unfertilized eggs. Some species are entirely female.

In plants

* Leaves have 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 cactus and the ayahuasca vine produce the same form of chemical toxin to 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.
* Insectivorous plants: Nitrogen-deficient plants have in at least 7 distinct times become insectivorous, like: flypaper trapssundew, spring traps-Venus fly trap, and pitcher traps in order to capture and digest insects to obtain scarce nitrogen.
* Similar-looking rosette succulents have arisen separately among plants in the families Asphodelaceae (formerly Liliaceae) and Crassulaceae.
* The "Euphorbia" of deserts in Africa and southern Asia, and the Cactaceae of 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 anhydrase is believed to illustrate convergent evolution.
* The use of ("Z")-7-dodecen-1-yl acetate as a sex pheromone by the Asian elephant ("Elephas maximus") and by more than 100 species of Lepidoptera.
* The independent development of the catalytic triad in serine proteases independently with subtilisin in prokaryotes and the chymotrypsin clan in eukaryotes.
* The repeated independent evolution of nylonase in two different strains of "Flavobacterium" and one strain of "Pseudomonas".
* The biosynthesis of plant hormones such as gibberellin and abscisic acid by 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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