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What is Divergent Evolution?

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  • Last Updated : 16 Aug, 2022
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Evolution is the process that we can observe in every living object. Evolution is a continuous process. It does not get stuck at any point in time. Since, from the very first ancestor, the earth witnessed a number of evolutions. A unicell gradually generates multicell living elements. This is also a type of evolution. Reptiles, Mammals, Birds, and Amphibians all are being evolved due to some reason. That may be due to natural or may be artificial. Evolution is the process; without it, a species can not survive in the world. Many species are extinct around the globe. As they can’t able to evolve themselves. 

What is Evolution?

Evolution is the process by which an ancestor species develops itself & modifies to a modern form. This process is still going through the world. Every species wants to develop itself into the better one. As they want to survive in the world. The world is ever-changing. With the changes, if any species can’t change to modern form, those species will disappear certainly. Changes in species come when they can able to change their DNA structure. The evolution may take several, millions of years to make a completely new species. In this way, new living creatures take birth in the world.

Types of Evolution

Evolution can be divided into four types. They are

  1. Divergent Evolution: Divergent Evolution is the type of evolution where two or more new species comes out from a common ancestor.
  2. Convergent Evolution: Convergent Evolution is the type of evolution where two or more different species show similar type of traits while living in different ecosystems.
  3. Parallel Evolution: Parallel Evolution is the type of evolution where two different species shows similar types of traits in the same ecosystem.
  4. Co-Evolution: Co-Evolution generally can visualize where two or more species’ evolutionary process disturbs due to the presence of another species in the same ecosystem.

What Is Divergent Evolution?

Divergent Evolution- Australian Marsupials


Divergent Evolution is the type of evolution where two or more species shares a common relationship with their ancestors. This type of evolution can be visualized everywhere. It is the main type of evolution that developed millions of species. If we deeply notice, we can able to find that the maximum species in the world are related to each other. This means they share some common traits among them. Though some of them developed due to other types of evolutions. But scientists believe that the percentage of divergent evolutions is much higher than the other ones. It is obvious that in the very first stage of the living thing, they are unicellular in nature. Gradually, they became more developed & hence multicellular species evolved in nature. From those gradually Mammals, Reptiles, Amphibians, Birds, etc. species are evolved & survived nature.

Flowchart of Divergent Evolution


Causes Of Divergent Evolution

Presence of Predators

The main theory behind the Divergent Evolution is, that the species developed from a single ancestor. Now, in the prehistoric era, millions of years there are predators which was a fatal reason why Divergent Evolution takes place. Due to predators many species needs a change in their own body structure. This need for change flows from one generation to another. After millions of years due to changes in DNA structures, some creatures are able to fulfill that need. Hence, they create a completely new species with a new trait from their old ancestor.

Habitat Change

In the prehistoric era, nature was very unstable. Due to natural disasters, some species need to change their habitat. This change grew up the need to adopt new traits to cope with that new habitat. This need will get fulfilled by any descenders. Then they can able to build up a new species with new traits. In this way, Divergent Evolution takes place.

Importance Of Divergent Evolution

Divergent Evolution is the main key that takes an important role in species development. if Divergent Evolution never happened in nature, then there will not be any variations in species. One thing we should keep in mind is that Divergent Evolution is the main pillar of evolution. The evolutionary process starts from the Divergent Evolution type. If the Divergent Evolution never happens then the Convergent, Parallel, Co Evolutions will not happen anymore. All other evolutions like Convergent, Parallel, and Co-Evolutions work on the new species which develop from the Divergent Evolution. If Divergent Evolution never happened then there will be no human species that exist in nature. Never Mammals, Reptiles can able to develop in nature. If Divergent Evolution is not there in nature, then in its presence there are only unicellular organisms that exist.

Example Of Divergent Evolution

Finches of Darwin

Darwin Finches


Charles Darwin provided the best example of Divergent Evolution in his book “On the Origin of Species”. Once Darwin visited Galapagos Islands, a group island. Galapagos Islands is neighboring South Africa. While visiting that spot, Darwin notices that there are many species of Finches available. Finch is a type of parrot-like bird. But the uniqueness is that every bird has a different type of becks. Different types of species have different types of becks. After noticing this thing, Darwin came to the conclusion that all those Finches are from a common ancestor. But due to some needs, they have evolved their becks in a different form.

Later he discovered that the structure of the becks were related to the food which they ate. For those Finches which ate insects, they had finer becks. But those who ate nuts & fruit have bigger becks for crushing those foods.

Forelimbs of Mammals

Every Mammal like Humans, Cats, Bats, Whales, etc. shares a similar type of forehand structure. But they perform different-different tasks. Scientists found that every forelimb of Mammals comprises five bones. They are Humerus, Radius, Ulna, Carpal, and Metacarpal. All mammals have this type of forelimb structure. But due to their habitat they use those for different purposes. Like Humans use that as their hands, Bats use that as their wings & whales use them as their flappers. This is the example of Divergent Evolution. They all are from one ancestor but they are from different species.

Evolution of Species

All evolution is done with the help of Divergent Evolution. All primates like humans, chimpanzees, Gorilla, etc. are from one single ancestor which might exist in Mesozoic Era. Not only the Primates, but Dogs, and Foxes also evolved from only one single ancestor.

Frequently Asked Questions 

Question 1: What is a Homologous Structure?


Homologous Structures are those structures that can visualize in the Divergently evolved species. Like forelimbs of the mammals the Homologous Structures. As they combine up with five bones. They are Humerus, Radius, Ulna, Carpal, and Metacarpal. And this structure is present in every mammal species.

Question 2: Does Human evolution Divergent Evolution?


Not only the Human evolution, but the maximum number of evolutions that we can visualize in nature is also part of Divergent Evolution. Divergent Evolution plays a major part in nature. From primates to small species Divergent Evolution is the main key for survive Ness.

Question 3: What is Adaptive Radiation?


Adaptive Radiation is a small type of evolution. Though it is not the evolution. Before any play, the players warm up their bodies. Adaptive evolution is the same process. It is like the warm-up process before starting the actual evolution process. Before evolution takes place, some indications can able to see in certain creatures. Those indications take place by the help of Adaptive Radiations.

Question 4: What is Drift in evolution?


Drift in evolution is a state where DNA starts changing its structures. By the changing structures of DNA, it starts displaying new traits in that creature. This all can be done by the changing the gene allele. 

Question 5: What is Natural Selection?


Natural Selection is the process where the species are being tested in the parameters of nature. This means if those species are able to survive in nature they will exist. And those who can’t able to evolve, will not be able to survive the changing nature. And hence, gradually will disappear from nature.

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