What Is Convergent Evolution?
Relation to the North American Cacti and the African Euphorbia
In evolutionary biology, convergent evolution is the process in which organisms from different evolutionary lineages independently evolve similar adaptations or traits, in response to similar environmental conditions. The North American Cacti and the African Euphorbia are clear examples of this concept. Both plant species have developed succulent, thick stems ideal for water storage, spines for protection and both are well adapted to cope with the low rainfall and arid climate of desert regions. Both plant species belong to different plant families and are distant relatives in the phylogeny of flowering plants; however, their shared characteristics indicate that they are a product of convergent evolution.
How has convergent evolution helped the North American Cacti of the Cactaceae Family and the African Euphorbias of the Euphorbiaceae Family to adapt to desert environments?
Convergent evolution has allowed for both plant species to develop similar adaptations, in order to facilitate their survival in the hot, arid desert environment of which they inhabit.
© 2014 Natasha Nguyen