Earth Sciences

What examples can you give of convergent and divergent evolution adaptive radiation and coevolution?

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September 03, 2009 2:32AM

One example of convergent evolution is the shape of the duck's bill and that of the platypus. The two are similar in shape due to similar ecological requirements (obtaining food in shallow, muddy water), but are not made of the same material and appear in unrelated taxa (birds and mammals). Another example is the superficial skeletal resemblances (especially in the skull) of the Tasmanian wolf (a marsupial) and the Grey wolf ( a placental mammal). These animals are only very distantly related, but occupy similar ecological niches (top rank predators living in woodland). One of the most dramatic examples of divergent evolution can be seen in the bat, where the forelimbs have been heavily modified (from ground locomotion) for flight. Adaptive radiation can be seen in the numerous species of finches on the Galapagos islands, but which are believed to have originated from one species from the mainland. As for coevolution, my favorite examples can be seen in plants, especially orchids, whose flowers have evolved to attract very specific pollinators, while the behavior of the pollinators have in turn evolved to become more specific to that particular plant.