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4.5.3.3. Species diversification

Diversification of species

A proof of evolution is the great diversity of species that exists on Earth, a biodiversity that is the greatest wealth on our planet.

Some of the main forms of evolution are:

Convergent evolution

The convergent evolution occurs when one or more unrelated species that do not share any recent ancestor, evolve in a similar way.

It occurs when convergent species have similar ecological niches, so they have great similarities in their morphology, although they are found in different parts of the world.

For example, the hydrodynamic, spindle-shaped form of marine organisms is common among them, although dolphins, sharks, and other species of marine animals do not have a close common ancestor. As they occupy the same medium, they have adapted in the same way.

If the species evolve in a similar way, but do share a recent ancestor, we speak of parallel evolution.

Divergent evolution

The evolution divergent when a population is isolated from the rest of the species, and adapts to environmental conditions differently than the rest, evolving independently of the rest of the species, but keeping the structures of the original type. After a while, they have lost the possibility of reproducing and a different species is formed.

For example, the five toes on the extremities of primitive mammals have been differentiated into the hands of people, the wings of bats, the fins of dolphins, or the leg of a horse.

The finches of the Galapagos Islands that Darwin unveiled would also be an example of divergent evolution.

Evolución divergente, convergente y paralela

By Oleg Alexandrov (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Interactive activity: Crossword on evolution.


         

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Biology and Geology teaching materials for Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO) and Baccalaureate students.