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What Is a Parallel Evolution

What is a parallel evolution?

1. Divergent evolution: when two or more lineages of the same species start to evolve in different directions and independently from each other, leading to the formation of two or more new species that are not related genetically. The Galapagos finches are an example of divergent evolution; their beaks evolved differently due to the different food sources available on their various islands.

Parallel Evolution
While divergent and convergent evolution can occur as a result of different causes, they both end with two species looking very similar but having distinct DNA. Parallel evolution occurs when two creatures evolve to look similar due to some kind of environmental pressure—but they don’t share any DNA at all.

Divergent Evolution
In convergent evolution, two or more species develop similar features because of their adaptation to similar environments. The animals that developed these features had no recent common ancestor and were not closely related, even though they may be distantly related to many other species. One example of convergent evolution is homoplasy, in which two species independently evolve wings in response to similar environmental conditions on different continents.

Convergent Evolution
Although both scenarios are called parallel evolution, they’re actually examples of convergent and divergent evolution. Convergent evolution is what occurs when two separate species or groups of organisms evolve in parallel toward similar traits because they have been subjected to similar evolutionary pressures. Divergent evolution, on the other hand, refers to when two lineages evolve separately from a common ancestor but then develop similar features over time as well.


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