Difference Between Convergent Evolution vs. Divergent Evolution

Main Difference

The key difference between convergent evolution and divergent evolution is that the convergent evolution is a type of evolution in which two or more different species evolve similar characteristics while divergent evolution is a type of evolution in which a specie diverges into multiple different species.

Convergent Evolution vs. Divergent Evolution

There is a large number of species that exist in this universe. Billions of years ago, there was only single cellular prokaryotes that have developed into such large size complex organisms. According to scientists, this variety of life on earth has been derived through evolution. Evolution is a process of gradual changes with the passage of time. There are two types of evolution, i.e., Microevolution and macroevolution. Macroevolution is further divided into convergent evolution and divergent evolution. Convergent evolution is a type of evolution in which two or more different species derived from the same specie with the passage of time while divergent evolution is a type of evolution in which a specie diverges into two or more different species. These changes are actually taking place due to change in environment. Organisms try to adapt to the new environment and in this way variation takes place that gives rise to new species. Convergent evolution gives rise to the analogous structure while divergent evolution gives rise to divergent structures.

Comparison Chart

BasisConvergent EvolutionDivergent Evolution
DefinitionA type of evolution in which two or more different species developed similar features is known as convergent evolution.A type of evolution in which a specie diverges into two or more different species is known as divergent evolution.
OrgansThe analogous organs show convergent evolution.Homologous organs show divergent evolution.
CauseConvergent evolution occurs due to environmental changes.Divergent Evolution may occur due to environmental changes or migration of an organism.
AppearanceInternally they resemble their ancestors, but the outer structure may be different.As gives rise to new specie so, they can be different from both outside and inside in appearance.
Way of livingThey resemble their ancestors in their way of living.They live differently and do not resemble their ancestors.
Way of evolutionThey evolve from different species but develops similar features.They evolve from same specie but give rise to different species.
ExampleWings of insects, bats and birds are examples of convergent evolution.Darwin finches evolve through divergent evolution.

What is Convergent Evolution?

Normally word “convergent” stands for “merging.” So, Convergent evolution is a process in which multiple species developed a similar trait in order to adapt in their environment. In this way, we can say that changes in the environment are the key to the convergent evolution. In response to any change in their surrounding environment, organisms try to adapt their body according to this change. So, variations take place at the genetic level which is hereditary. As a result of these changes multiple species that are living in the same environment adapted the same changes in their body which cause convergent evolution. Internally these organisms may resemble their parents, but their outer structure may be different. So, convergent evolution evolves analogous organs. Analogous organs are the organs that have the same function but different in their structure and origin. Wings of insects, bats and birds are the example of analogous structures.

What is Divergent Evolution?

Word “divergent” stands for “separated.” So, divergent evolution is a type of evolution in a single specie diverges or separated into two or more different species. This type of evolution is totally opposite to the convergent evolution. Environmental changes or migration of some members of a specie to a different environment are the causes of divergent evolution. In order to adopt the different environment of a different area, they bring changes in them that cause the evolution of different species from a single specie. So, divergent evolution takes place. As it gives rise to totally new species so, organisms are different both internally as well as externally to their ancestors. Divergent evolution evolves homologous structures. Homologous structures are the structures that have the same structure but vary in their functions. Darwin Finches or Galapagos finches is the example of divergent evolution.

Key Differences

  1. Convergent evolution is a type of evolution in which two or more different species developed similar traits and evolve a single specie while divergent evolution is a type of evolution in which a single specie evolve different traits and diverges into two or more different species.
  2. Convergent evolution evolves analogous organs (organs that have the same function but different in their structure and origin) whereas divergent evolution evolves homologous structures (organs that have same structure but vary in their functions).
  3. During convergent evolution, different species evolve into a single specie while during divergent evolution a single specie evolves into multiple species.
  4. Organisms that are evolved through convergent evolution resembles their ancestors in their way of living while organisms that are evolved through divergent evolution live differently and do not resemble to their ancestors.
  5. Wings of insects, bats and birds are examples of convergent evolution whereas Darwin finches evolve through divergent evolution.

Comparison Video

Conclusion

From the above discussion, it is concluded that Convergent evolution is a type of evolution in which different species developed similar traits and evolve into a single specie that has analogous organs while divergent evolution is a type of evolution in which a single specie evolve different traits and diverges into multiple different species with homologous organs.

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