Explain divergent evolution with two examples.
Divergent evolution is the cumulative process of natural selection that ultimately leads to the formation of different species from the same ancestral base.
- Whale flippers, frog forelimbs and human arms have evolved from the front flippers of an ancient jawless fish. They all share a common ancestor (jawless fish), and hence they have the same structure. But during evolution, they were developed to perform different functions; whale flippers, frog forelimbs and human arms perform different functions. Thus, jawless fish have gone through the process of divergent evolution leading to homologous structures, that is, whale flippers, frog forelimb and human arms.
- Darwin finches is another example of divergent evolution. A large variety of finches is present in Galapagos Island that arose from a single species that reached this land accidentally. As a result, many new species have evolved, diverged and adapted to occupy new habitats. These finches have developed different eating habits and different types of beaks to suit their feeding habits.
Concept: Evolution of Life Forms - a Theory
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