Divergent vs Convergent Evolution: Definitions, Differences & Examples

Divergent vs Convergent Evolution: Evolution is the concept that the animals and plants that are breathy today have grown from past creatures. Advancements took place gradually over time until the development of the characteristics we see in plants and animals today. Evolution is a change in the heritable characteristics of biological populations over consecutive generations. These characteristics are the definitions of genes that are passed on from parent to kid during reproduction.

Different characteristics tend to reside within any given population as a result of mutation, genetic recombination, and other sources of genetic deviation. Evolution appears when evolutionary processes such as natural selection (including s*xual selection) and genetic tendency act on this variation, resulting in definite characteristics becoming more common or rare within a population. It is this process of evolution that has given ascent to biodiversity at every level of biological organization, including the levels of species, individual organisms, and molecules.

Difference Between Convergent and Divergent Evolution

Difference Between Convergent and Divergent Evolution

Evolution is begun due to the varying environmental conditions which create variations and this helps in better transformation. In Divergent evolution organs with similar structural plans grow along different lines. In Convergent evolution, broadly different organisms evolve similar structures due to similar environmental habitat.

What Is Divergent Evolution?

“Divergent evolution is the phenomenon in which two species have common ancestors but acquires different characteristics due to changes in the environment in which they adapt slowly and hence give rise to new species.”

Divergent evolution appears when two different species share a common ancestor but have distinct characteristics from one another. This is probably the type of evolution that first comes to mind when the topic of evolution comes up. After all, the evolutionary theory explains to us that every form of life on Earth today progressed from the first living cells! Over time, the original cells took extremely different paths of development and finally created the diversity of life on Earth, from trees to humans.

Divergent Evolution

Divergent Evolution

Each time one ancestral species diverges into multiple descendant species it is called speciation. Speciation is an important outcome of divergent evolution. Of course, divergent evolution doesn’t have to take place on such a noble scale. It can also be as simple as different populations of an organism that have shaped different environments.

Darwin’s finches are a good example of this. Darwin’s finches are a group of about 15 different species of finches that live on the Galapagos Islands. Each independent species of finch adapted to a different diet, makingvariation in their beak shape and size. All of them grew from one species of finch that was a common ancestor.

What Is Convergent Evolution?

“When two or more disparate species acquired similar characteristics due to adaptation to the particular environment, but they do not belong to the same ancestors are kept under Convergent Evolution.”

It is important to learn convergent evolution; otherwise, we might falsely assume a relationship between two animals that have similar features. Convergent evolution makes analogous structures that have identical form or function but were not shown in the last common ancestor of those groups.

Convergent Evolution

Convergent Evolution

The cladistic word for the same phenomenon is homoplasy. The repeated evolution of flight is a classic example, as flying insects, birds, pterosaurs, and bats have separately evolved the useful capacity of flight.

Functionally similar factors that have arisen through convergent evolution are analogous, whereas homologous structures or characters have a common origin but can have disparate functions. Bird, bat, and pterosaur wings are analogous structures, but their forelimbs are homologous, sharing a familial state despite serving distinct functions.

Divergent vs Convergent Evolution or Differences

  1. Convergent evolution is the procedure where two or different species evolve similar traits, in spite of having a distinct ancestor. An example is wings of birds, bats, insects. While Divergent evolution is rising to new species which may be identical in function but morphologically disparate from their ancestors. An example is Darwin’s finches (kind of birds).
  2. Organisms with Convergent evolution evolve Analogous structure (means those structure which is similar in function but different in shapes and origin) despite evolving separately from the structure. Divergent kind has the Homologous structure(means structure are same, but functions are different), despite appearing similar to ancestors.
  3. Examples of convergent evolution are wings of insects, birds, bats, streamlined bodies of dolphins and shark, whereas that of Darwin finches (kind of birds) is the example of divergent evolution.
  4. In convergent evolution, species derive from the different species but evolves identical characteristics, like wings of birds and insects. In the case of divergent evolution, species derive from the same species and regularly give rise to new species like Darwin finches which have evolved in around 80 new species.
  5. Convergent evolution can be due to change in environmental situations, or rapid changes in the place where the organisms are living, on the other hand, Divergent evolution arise due to the migration or any environmental changes.


The importance of evolution is in developing new kind of species which can survive with the variations in the environment and able to adapt according to the surrounding easily. As each and every species is equally important and show their presence in environmental processes.


What Are Examples Of Convergent Evolution?
An Example Of Convergent Evolution Is The Similar Nature Of The Flight/Wings Of Insects, Birds, Pterosaurs, And Bats. All Four Serve The Same Function And Are Similar In Structure, But Each Evolved Independently.
What Is An Example Of Divergent Evolution?
In Divergent Evolution, Two Or More Distinct Species Share A Common Ancestor From Which They Diverged. A Common Example Is A Modern Elephant And Woolly Mammoth.
What Causes Divergent Evolution?
Divergent Evolution Is The Process Whereby Groups From The Same Common Ancestor Evolve And Accumulate Differences, Resulting In The Formation Of New Species. Divergent Evolution May Occur As A Response To Changes In Abiotic Factors, Such As A Change In Environmental Conditions, Or When A New Niche Becomes Available.
What Causes Convergent Evolution?
Convergent Evolution Is A Process In Biology. It Occurs When Two Species From Unrelated Lines Develop The Same Traits Or Features. This Happens Because They Live In Similar Habitats, And Have To Develop Solutions To The Same Kind Of Problems. Similarity In Traits Can Occur In Two Ways.
What Are The Similarities Between Convergent And Divergent Evolution?
Convergent Evolution Is The Process Where Two Or Different Species Develop Similar Traits, In Spite Having The Different Ancestor. An Example Is Wings Of Birds, Bats, Insects. Whereas Divergent Evolution Gives Rise To New Species Which May Be Similar In Function But Morphologically Different From Their Ancestors.
What Species Did Humans Evolve From?
Modern Humans Originated In Africa Within The Past 200,000 Years And Evolved From Their Most Likely Recent Common Ancestor, Homo Erectus, Which Means ‘upright Man’ In Latin. Homo Erectus Is An Extinct Species Of Human That Lived Between 1.9 Million And 135,000 Years Ago.
Who Discovered Convergent Evolution?
The Concepts Underlying Convergent Evolution Can Be Traced Back To Richard Owen, A British Biologist Who, Despite Doubting Darwin’s Theory Of Evolution, In The Mid 1800S, Pointed Out The Difference Between Animals With Body Parts That Are Built Similarly (Homologues) And Body Parts That Just Have Similar Purposes.