Cambridge paleontologist Simon Conway Morris’s Map of Life is a one-stop shop for convergent evolution. Who knew this?:
Malodorous flowering plants
Several groups of angiosperms have flower structures that produce foul odours to attract pollinating insects. This strategy is convergent, being found in species as distantly related as the ‘Titan arum’ Amorphophallus titanium (a monocot) and the ‘Corpse flower’ Rafflesia (a eudicot).
The plants feature on Trivia Time, but their convergence on a rather less than obvious strategy (“Love me, I stink.”) is not remarked on. Morris is the go-to guy for convergent evolution, largely overlooked but well documented:
We have identified hundreds of examples of convergence, so if you want to learn about convergence in sex (e.g. love-darts), eyes (e.g. camera-eyes in jellyfish), agriculture (e.g. in ants) or gliding (e.g. in lizards and mammals) then this is your best port of call.
The name ‘Map of Life’ reflects the way that evolution has repeatedly arrived at, or converged upon, the same adaptive solutions from more or less unrelated starting points, as though evolutionary trajectories were following a metaphorical ‘map’ to the same destination.
The shadow of Darwinism falls across that last clause beginning with “as though”: The team can’t quite bring themselves to write: “It looks as though evolutionary trajectories follow a metaphorical ‘map’ to the same destination.” Finally, someone’s got to. But don’t let that deter you; great site.
Here’s the linked Index.
Hat tip: Pos-Darwinista