Biology

Difference between convergent evolution and divergent evolution

Main difference

The main difference between convergent evolution and divergent evolution is that convergent evolution is a type of evolution in which two or more different species develop similar characteristics, while divergent evolution is a type of evolution in which one species diverges in multiple different species …

Convergent evolution vs. divergent evolution

There are a large number of species that exist in this universe. Billions of years ago, there were only single-cell prokaryotes that have grown into complex organisms of such large size. According to scientists, this variety of life on earth has been derived through evolution. Evolution is a process of gradual changes over time. There are two types of evolution, that is, microevolution and macroevolution. Macroevolution is in turn divided into convergent evolution and divergent evolution. Convergent evolution is a type of evolution in which two or more different species derive from the same species over time, while divergent evolution is a type of evolution in which one species diverges into two or more different species. These changes are actually occurring due to changes in the environment. Organisms try to adapt to the new environment and in this way a variation occurs that gives rise to new species. Convergent evolution gives rise to analogous structure, while divergent evolution gives rise to divergent structures.

Comparative chart

Convergent evolution Divergent evolution
A type of evolution in which two or more different species developed similar characteristics is known as convergent evolution. A type of evolution in which one species diverges into two or more different species is known as divergent evolution.
Organs
Analogous organs show a convergent evolution. The homologous organs show a divergent evolution.
Why
Convergent evolution occurs due to environmental changes. Divergent evolution can occur due to environmental changes or migration of an organism.
Appearance
Internally they resemble their ancestors, but the external structure may be different. As it gives rise to a new species, they can be different both on the outside and on the inside in appearance.
Way of living
They resemble their ancestors in their way of life. They live differently and do not look like their ancestors.
Evolution path
They evolve from different species but develop similar characteristics. They evolve from the same species but give rise to different species.
Example
The wings of insects, bats, and birds are examples of convergent evolution. Darwin’s finches evolve through divergent evolution.
What is convergent evolution?

Usually the word “convergent” means “fusion.” So, convergent evolution is a process in which multiple species developed a similar trait to adapt to their environment. In this way, we can say that changes in the environment are the key to convergent evolution. In response to any change in their surrounding environment, organisms try to adapt their body in accordance with this change. So the variations take place at the genetic level which is hereditary. As a result of these changes, multiple species living in the same environment adapted the same changes in their body that cause convergent evolution. Internally, these organisms may resemble their parents, but their external structure may be different. So convergent evolution develops analogous organs. Analogous organs are organs that have the same function but different in structure and origin. The wings of insects, bats, and birds are examples of analogous structures.

What is divergent evolution?

The word “divergent” means “separate.” So divergent evolution is a type of evolution where a single species diverges or splits into two or more different species. This type of evolution is totally opposite to convergent evolution. Environmental changes or migration of some members of the species to a different environment are the causes of divergent evolution. To be able to adopt the different environment of a different area, they bring changes in them that cause the evolution of different species from a single species. Then a divergent evolution takes place. Because it gives rise to entirely new species, organisms are different both internally and externally from their ancestors. Divergent evolution develops homologous structures.

Key differences

  1. Convergent evolution is a type of evolution in which two or more different species developed similar traits and evolved into a single species, while divergent evolution is a type of evolution in which a single species develops different traits and diverges into two or more different species.
  2. Convergent evolution develops analogous organs (organs that have the same function but different in structure and origin) while divergent evolution develops homologous structures (organs that have the same structure but vary in their functions).
  3. During convergent evolution, different species evolve into a single species, while during divergent evolution a single species evolves into multiple species.
  4. Organisms that evolve through convergent evolution resemble their ancestors in their way of life, while organisms that evolve through divergent evolution live differently and do not resemble their ancestors.
  5. The wings of insects, bats, and birds are examples of convergent evolution, while Darwin’s finches evolve through divergent evolution.

Final Thought

From the above discussion, it is concluded that convergent evolution is a type of evolution in which different species developed similar traits and evolve into a single species that has analogous organs, while divergent evolution is a type of evolution in which a single species develops different traits and characteristics. it diverges in multiple different species with homologous organs.

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