convergent evolution


Definition of convergent evolution

: the independent development of similar traits or features (as of body structure or behavior) in unrelated or distantly related species or lineages that typically occupy similar environments or ecological niches The remarkable resemblance of these moths to hummingbirds is a case of convergent evolution. Both are after the same thing: nectar deep within tubular flowers that lack "landing pads."— Dan Gill In some cases, a taxon is composed of the descendants of unrelated ancestors that evolved similar features by convergent evolution and for this reason have been mistaken as relatives.— Douglas J. Futuyma

called also convergence

— compare analogy, divergent evolution, parallel evolution

First Known Use of convergent evolution

1898, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About convergent evolution

Time Traveler for convergent evolution

Time Traveler

The first known use of convergent evolution was in 1898

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near convergent evolution


convergent evolution

convergent lady beetle

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for convergent evolution

Cite this Entry

“Convergent evolution.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!