Convergent and divergent evolution

Evolution is one of the most interesting areas in Biology. Evolution follows a certain pattern that results in a useful conversion of the process. There are 2 patterns; convergent and the divergent evolution. Convergent Evolution is when the distinct species have evolved to produce similar traits due to the similar environmental factors in which they lived and bred in. It is due to the force of natural selection. One of the best examples of convergent evolution is the similar nature of the flight/wings of insects, birds, pterosaurs, and bats. All 4 serve the same function having a similar structure, but each of them has evolved independently. Divergent evolution shows how species can separate (diverge) into new forms or how they can change slightly over time. A divergent evolution doesn’t mean there is a drastic change but it is gradual. To exemplify, the vertebrates such as pigs, birds, monkeys, and whales, had the same sets of bones in their forelimbs, but over a period of time, they have been modified resulting in their usage for different purposes in different animals.  


Differences between Convergent and Divergent Evolution

Convergent Evolution

Divergent Evolution

It is the result of adaptation to a particular environment among the different species resulting in the similarities in their characteristics and functions.

When an ancestral species gets diverged into a number of different species, ultimately resulting in the formation of new species.

It is due to the influence of internal environmental factors within a specified geographical area

It occurs due to migration and environmental changes beyoned the local area

The outer structure of a species may be different, but internally they resemble their ancestors.

They may vary from outside as well as inside in their appearance.

Few examples of convergent evolution are:

  1. Wings of insects, birds, bats

  2. The streamlined body of dolphins and shark

Darwin finches are an example of divergent evolution.






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