What is convergent evolution? May we include a fossil to describe convergent evolution?

1 Answer
Nov 17, 2016

Organisms which are from different evolutionary lines, often show similar adaptive tendencies to occupy similar habitats. Such a phenomenon is called convergent evolution.
Answer for the second question is YES.


Convergent evolution allows unrelated organisms to live in a habitat in similar manner. For example, ducks and frogs both show webbed feet, as they both spend time in aquatic habitat. It is also true for development of flippers in penguin, a bird and dolphin, a mammal.


There are examples from fossil evidence as well, like extinct reptilian organism Pterodactyl , which developed wings to fly like bird and bat, a mammal.


Convergent evolution leads to appearance of analogous organs , which means there could be morphological similarity in structure but the underlying infrastructures differ.

  • For example thorns and spines in plants may develop from axial buds, but in cacti, thorns are modified leaves.
  • Likewise wing of bat is a patagium, i.e. folds of skin supported by highly elongated fingers while in birds fingers are vestigial and wing is feathery. Then there are insects with wings but those are without any bony support: insect wings are actually made of polysaccharide chitin.