Difference between Homology and Homoplasia

Main difference

The main difference between homology and homoplasia is that homology is a product that results from divergent evolution, whereas homoplasia is the result of convergent evolution …

Homology vs homoplasia

Homology is defined as the similarity between the characters that come from the same ancestor. Homoplasia is defined as similar characters but is not derived from the same ancestor. Homology is any common element that comes from an evolutionary change in the structure and parts of different organisms from the common ancestor. Homoplasia is when the organ of the two organisms works with similar characteristics and functions due to the similarity in the environment rather than an ancestral link.

Traits in the homology process show a high degree of genetic similarity. Characters undergoing homoplasty do not share a high degree of genetic or ancestral similarity. Homology shows different developmental pathways. Homoplasia shows similar developmental pathways. Homology characters perform different functions. However, homoplasia characters show the same function. The term homology is used to describe the evolutionary relationship of species. Homoplasty is not used to describe any evolutionary relationship. Homology is related to dependent evolution. Homoplasia is related to independent evolution.

The homology of terms has related the species that come from the same ancestor. The term homoplasia is related to species that share a special character but do not come from the same ancestor. Like the bird’s wing, the wing bones are homologous organs and represent homology. But the wings themselves are structure of homoplasias and represent homoplasias. Homology is also known as structural homology. Homoplasty is also known as functional homoplasia. Homology reflects both common ascendant and common descendant. Homoplasia does not reflect common ascending or descending.

Comparative chart
Homology Homoplasty
Similar traits of a similar ancestor are homology Similar traits from a different ancestor are homoplasia
Basic structure
Similary Different
Different functions Same functions
Depend on
Evolutionary relationship Environmental conditions
Vertebrate limbs Wings of bats, birds and insects, etc.

What is homology?

Word homology is related to the same biological structures and similar characters. When these similar characters are studied, it is noted that these characters come from the same origin or common ancestor. The best examples of homology are seen in the limbs of birds and in different organisms like rabbits, lizards, and rabbits, etc. It is observed that the appearance of these limbs is different in all these species, but they share a similar set of bones. Homology deals with the similarity between species that arise from the same ancestor and is the result of divergent evolution.

After research on homologous organs, it is claimed that fossils of ancient extinct species such as Eusthenopteron from which birds, frogs, lizards and rabbits originated possess the same set and arrangement of bones. It is noted that two species showing homology were the same species at the same time, but now they diverge and are known as the most recent ancestor. Over time, two species of the same ancestors diverge due to the adaptation of other environmental factors.

After divergence, these species still possess the same characters that come from the same ancestor. The anatomy of different vertebrate limbs is taken as an example of homology, eg, the homology of vertebrate limbs. The number of bones, shape, and construction are all identical in vertebrate limbs, while representing some adaptive modifications. It means that the modified limbs perform different functions depending on the requirements of the environment in which the organism lives. These tips were tailored for the purpose.

What is homoplasty?

The word homoplasia is referred to as the structure and biological characters of different species that do not share the same ancestor and are not inherited in a similar way. Homoplasia arises due to natural selection; It usually evolves independently in the same environment or in the same niches as other species, which also have the same trait but belong to different genera. For example, an organ-like eye developed differently in different organisms but performed similar functions. Homoplasia involves organs that are different in structure but have a similar function.

Homoplasia is a term opposed to homology that has a similar character or function, but not from the same lineage. That is why it is related to independent convergent evolution. Since homoplasia does not occur in the same species or in the same species of the same ancestors, it basically occurs in species that live in a similar environment. Homology is about similar characters, for example, the wings of birds of different species show similar functionality. Some examples of homoplasty are also shown in sharks, flying squirrels, sugar gliders, and dolphins.

For example, the wings of birds and bats are structurally different, but they always perform the same function. Due to the motive of natural selection and other environmental factors, species tend to evolve in their life according to their needs. The characters that evolved through the organism due to natural selection or other environmental factors do not match the characters of its ancestors. Homoplasia is also said to be a type of phylogenetics in which some traits or characters are independently selected by evolution, except for ancestral lineage.

Key differences
  1. In homology, homologies perform different functions while, in homoplasies, homoplasies perform the same function.
  2. Homology has a common ancestral region. On the other hand, homoplasia has a different ancestral region.
  3. Homology refers to divergent evolution; conversely, homoplasty is related to convergent evolution.
  4. The main homology structure of the homologies is the same, although in homoplasies the main structure of the homoplasies is different.
  5. Homology is related to evolutionary relationship, on the other hand, homoplasium does not refer to any evolutionary relationship.
  6. The main example of homology is shown in the limbs of vertebrates. However, the example of homoplasty is noticeable in the wings of birds.
  7. Homology deals with structure; on the other hand, homoplasy deals with the function.
  8. Homology shows a high degree of genetic similarity compared to homoplasia and does not show any genetic similarity.

Final Thought

It is concluded that homology refers to the species of the same genetic lineage, and homoplasia refers to the species of different genetic lineage.

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