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What is convergent evolution?

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2010-05-20 12:10:33

Convergent evolution is when various species evolve similar

solutions to similar evolutionary pressures, independently and

often at different times in the earth's history. A good example is

the Ichsyosaurous(swimming dinosaur), sharks, and dolphins. All of

them evolved with a very similar torpedo shaped body. Another

example is the eyes of octopi and humans. They are alike in

structure and function.

The rare Tasmanian Beech tree is the only true deciduous tree in

Australia, and was long thought to be a relative of the northern

hemisphere species, but study of its DNA shows that its origions

date back to the Gondwana-southern supercontinent. So, the leaf

shedding strategy evolved seperately in both hemispheres, another

example of convergent evolution.

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