- Analogy (biology)
Two structures in biology are said to be analogous if they perform the same or similar function by a similar mechanism but evolved separately. Similar structures may have evolved through different pathways, a process known as
convergent evolution, or may be homologous.
The concept of
analogyis contrasted with that of homology, which refers to two structures that share a common ancestor and share basic structure. Homologous structures may retain the function they served in the common ancestor or they may evolve to fulfill different functions for example, the wings of birds versus the forelimbs of mammals.
* [http://encarta.msn.com/media_461553540_761554675_1_1/Analogous_and_Homologous_Structures.html Pictures of analogous and homologous structures] at [http://encarta.msn.com/ MSN Encarta]
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