divergent evolution

noun

: the development of dissimilar traits or features (as of body structure or behavior) in closely related populations, species, or lineages of common ancestry that typically occupy dissimilar environments or ecological niches
The finches that Charles Darwin described in the Galapagos Islands are a classic example of divergent evolution. The beaks of different species evolved in response to specific evolutionary forces—different foods available on the various islands. Henry Fountain

called also divergence

compare convergent evolution, parallel evolution

Word History

First Known Use

1856, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of divergent evolution was in 1856

Dictionary Entries Near divergent evolution

Cite this Entry

“Divergent evolution.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/divergent%20evolution. Accessed 4 Dec. 2022.

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