Convergent Evolution

What is Evolution?

The theory of evolution is based on the idea that all life on earth is related to each other which gradually changed over time. It is defined as “the process by which living organisms are believed to have been developed from the ancestral forms during the earth history”.

What is Convergent Evolution?

In evolutionary biology, convergent evolution is defined as a process in which living organisms, which are not closely related, evolve similar traits like body coloration, body forms, and organs, independently of each other as a result of the need to adapt to similar ecological conditions. It is opposite to divergent evolution, in which closely related organisms evolve different traits. Natural selection is responsible for that. It is very important to understand convergent evolution otherwise, we might assume a relationship between any two similar-looking organisms.

For example, a hummingbird and a hummingbird moth are evolved so that they have the same size, eat the nectar from same flowers and have wings that work in the same manner. However, one of them is an insect and other is a bird. They both evolved from different ancestors in similar ecological conditions so developed the same characteristics.

Analogous Structures and Convergent Evolution

Analogous structures are those structures in different species which perform the same function, have a similar appearance but are not evolved together; therefore do not share a common ancestor. For example, both insects and birds have wings to fly, but the wing of a bird is derived from different tissues than the wing of an insect and they function differently as well. The wings of birds and insects allow them to perform the same function that is to fly. This is an example of convergent evolution. These species did not evolve for to prepare for future circumstances but the evolution was induced by similar selective pressures. The examples of convergent evolution are very common because it occurs where there are different organisms subjected to similar selective pressures. Analogous structures result from convergent evolution in which different organisms evolve to the similar environmental conditions.

The examples of convergent evolution are very common because it occurs where there are different organisms subjected to similar selective pressures. Analogous structures result from convergent evolution in which different organisms evolve to the similar environmental conditions. Every species has an unlimited development potential due to inherent genetic capabilities, however, only those changes are preserved which are useful in terms of adaptation.

The theory of convergent evolution is supported by studying species which came from different ancestors, having similar characteristics, proven by their DNA analysis. However, it is difficult to understand mechanisms, which bring about these similarities in characteristics. Convergent evolution poses problems for taxonomists which use evolutionary patterns or relatedness in taxonomy as, it sometimes leads to false evolutionary predictions and classification.

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