What is the difference between convergent and divergent evolution?
Evolution is a process that results in modern plants and animals from past organisms. The mechanism of evolution can be parallel evolution, convergent evolution, and divergent evolution. To understand the evolutionary theory then you need to know more about these three mechanisms.
However, the article provides a core difference between convergent and divergent evolution in a tabular form for easier understanding. Besides that, you will get to learn the similarities between convergent and divergent evolution.
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What Is Convergent Evolution?
Convergent evolution is an evolutionary process where distantly related species develop similar structures as an adaptation to the environment. The cause of evolution happens due to a change in environmental conditions.
The outer structures of these species tend to appear different but internally they resemble the same ancestry. The type of structures under convergence evolution are analogous structures. These are structures that perform the same function but they evolve from different ancestors.
What Is Divergent Evolution?
Divergent evolution is an evolutionary process where an interbreeding species diverges into two or more descendant species. These species tend to live in a different environment as their ancestors. The cause of evolution happens due to migration and environmental changes.
Divergent evolution results in a new species which tends to be different both from inside and outside in terms of appearance. The type of structures under divergence evolution is known as homologous structures. These structures tend to be the same but perform different functions.
Comparison Chart: Convergent Evolution Vs Divergent Evolution
|Basic Terms||Convergent Evolution||Divergent Evolution|
|Definition||It is an evolutionary process where distantly related species develop similar structures to adapt to the environment||It is an evolutionary process where the interbreeding of species diverges into two or more descendant species.|
|Environment||Species lived in the same environment||Species in different environments than their ancestors|
|Significance||Unrelated species evolve some similarities to adapt in a common environment||Two different species results in two species becoming less like the common ancestor.|
|Developing Structures||Through the development of analogous structures||Through the development of homologous structures|
|Cause of evolution||Change in environmental conditions||Due to migration or change in the environmental conditions|
|Appearance||The outer structure may be different but internally resemble their ancestors.||Result in new species completely which is different from outside and inside|
|Way of living||They live closely in the same way as other species, of which it has adopted the changes.||They live in different ways from their ancestor.|
|Species||Evolve into a single species||Evolve into a multiple species|
|Examples||Ostriches, rheas, and emus||dinosaurs, Darwin’s finches, and forelimb structures of vertebrates|
Core Differences between Divergent and Convergent Evolution
- Divergent evolution results in the development of different functional structures from a common ancestral form whereas convergent evolution results in the development of similar adaptive functional structures in unrelated species of organisms.
- Convergent evolution is shown by analogous organs whereas divergent evolution is shown by homologous structures
- Both species in convergent evolution live in the same environment whereas in divergent evolution the species live in different environments than their ancestry
- Convergent evolution occurs when unrelated species evolve similarities when adapting to change in environment whereas divergent evolution occurs when different species result in two or more different species
- The cause of convergent evolution is a change in the environment whereas divergent evolution is due to migration and environmental changes
- The outer appearance of convergence is different but internally resemble whereas both the outer and inner appearance of species under divergence is different
- Convergent evolution examples are ostriches, rheas, and emus whereas divergent evolution examples are dinosaurs, Darwin’s finches, and forelimb structures of vertebrates.
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The core difference between convergent and divergent evolution is that convergent evolution results in analogous structures whereas divergent evolution results in homologous structures. Where analogous structures refers to those structures that perform the same function through having evolved from different ancestry and analogous structures are those structures that are the same but perform different structures.