Reference Article

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Parallel evolution

Parallel evolution is the independent evolution of similar traits, starting from a similar ancestral condition.

Frequently this is the situation in more closely related lineages, where several species respond to similar challenges in a similar way.

One of the most spectacular examples of parallel evolution is provided by the two main branches of the mammals, the placentals and marsupials, which have followed independent evolutionary pathways following the break-up of land-masses such as Gondwanaland roughly 100 million years ago.

In South America, marsupials and placentals shared the ecosystem (prior to the Great American Interchange); in Australia, marsupials prevailed; and in the Old World the placentals won out.

However, in all these localities mammals were small and filled only limited places in the ecosystem until the mass extinction of dinosaurs forty million years later.

At this time, mammals on all three landmasses began to take on a much wider variety of forms and roles.

While some forms were unique to each environment, surprisingly similar animals have often emerged in two or three of the separated continents.

Examples of these include the litopterns and horses, whose legs are difficult to distinguish; the European sabre-tooth tiger (Smilodon) and the South American marsupial sabre-tooth (Thylacosmilus); the Tasmanian wolf and the European wolf; likewise marsupial and placental moles, flying squirrels, and (arguably) mice.

Note: This article excerpts material from the Wikipedia article "Parallel evolution", which is released under the GNU Free Documentation License.

See the following related content on ScienceDaily:


Related Videos

last updated on 2014-04-24 at 5:46 am EDT

Does Social Engagement Have a Genetic Root?

Does Social Engagement Have a Genetic Root?

FORA.tv (May 13, 2013) Does Social Engagement Have a Genetic Root? California Academy of Sciences - California Academy of Sciences Innovation is critical for both individual and evolutionary success, but creative disruption requires taking risks. New research marrying the theory and methods of economics to cutting-edge neuroscience techniques - an emerging field known as NeuroEconomics - is making new discoveries about the biological processes that motivate us to take risks and create new solutions to unforeseen challenges. Dr. Platt will describe how the brain overcomes uncertainty to explore novel alternatives and create new knowledge. Parallel findings from humans, monkeys, rodents, and worms indicate that a common suite of underlying mechanisms has evolved to control the desire to explore. At one extreme, neuropsychiatric disorders like attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and addiction, may arise from dysfunctional control of exploration. At the other, uniquely human faculties of creativity and technological innovation may reflect elaboration of this shared biological heritage controlling our desire to explore.
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bio Imaging System Spawns New Theories of Evolution

Bio Imaging System Spawns New Theories of Evolution

Reuters (Oct. 6, 2013) A pioneering bio-imaging system designed by British researchers is allowing unrivalled monitoring of hundreds of aquatic embryos simultaneously and could alter scientific thinking on heredity and evolution. Jim Drury has more.
Powered by NewsLook.com
World's Oldest Turtle Fossil Could Bridge Evolutionary Gap

World's Oldest Turtle Fossil Could Bridge Evolutionary Gap

Reuters (Oct. 19, 2012) Polish paleontologists have uncovered what they believe is the world's oldest turtle fossil in the southern city of Poreba. They've also found what they suspect is a separate turtle species, previously unknown and hope that subsequent examination will help solve unanswered questions about the animals' evolution.
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chinese Fossil Discovery Casts New Light on Origin of Primates

Chinese Fossil Discovery Casts New Light on Origin of Primates

Reuters (June 6, 2013) The long-held belief that primates began their evolution in Africa has been called into question following the discovery in China, of the oldest known primate fossil. An international team of researchers announced in this month's Nature journal the discovery of Archicebus achilles eleven years after it was found and more than 55 million years after it died. Rob Muir reports.
Powered by NewsLook.com

Related Stories


Share This



Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins