Divergent evolution or divergent selection is the accumulation of differences between populations of closely related species, leading to speciation. Divergent evolution is usually present when two populations are separated by geographical barriers (such as in allometric or peripatric speciation) and experience different selective pressures that drive adaptation to their new environment.
After several generations and continued evolution, the population became unable to cross paths. American naturalist JT Gulick (1832-1923) was the first to use the term “divergent evolution”, with its widespread use in modern evolutionary literature. A classic example of differences in nature is adaptive radiation from Galapagos finches or color differences in populations of species living in different habitats such as with pocket rats and fence lizards.
Divergent Evolution Definition
Divergent evolution is referring to the process by which species interbreed into two or more evolutionary groups. This means that this group of species used to be similar and related. However, they become increasingly different over time.
Divergent evolution may also be related to the process of tracing back two or more species to their common ancestors and knowing how these species have diversified or diverged.
Divergent evolution is one of three types of evolutionary patterns; the other two are convergent and parallel. Species evolution is strongly influenced by environmental factors and predation activities. The Galapagos finch deviates from its hereditary species is one of the most frequently cited examples of divergent evolution.
Divergent Evolution Cause
Different evolutionary processes can be classified primarily as forms of adaptation and/or survival of various species of living things.
Thus, adaptive radiation often occurs in situations where a species are introduced to a new ecosystem, naturally or artificially..
In this way we can distinguish several causes of evolution in living things:
It refers to the process by which a species develop new abilities, which until then it does not have, which allows it to reach new parts of its environment, that is, it is able to cover a new ecological niche.
The acquisition of new skills by a species can occur in turn by various factors or needs, such as obtaining food, the need for shelter against predators, etc..
A basic example of this is the development and evolution of the ability to fly in birds, allowing them to explore new places; as well as the evolution of bipedalism (The ability to travel in both lower extremities).
When a species has been able to survive in a highly changed or radically changing environment, it will most likely undergo a different evolutionary process, to include new ecological niches created by biological changes.
Environmental change is a consequence of one or more factors that produce a series of differences in an ecosystem.
Environmental changes can occur due to natural factors, the movement of the earth or natural accidents such as volcanic eruptions.
An example of adaptive radiation by environmental changes is the rapid expansion and development of mammals after the extinction of dinosaurs, which was partly caused, according to one theory, by the impact of meteorites, asteroids or comets against the earth, which causes a series of important changes in the environment.
Global Environmental Issues and Causes
The presence of new species in areas with unique ecological characteristics, or difficult access between different species, such as islands or mountainous areas; and the ability of these species to survive and colonize these regions could pave the way for different evolutionary processes.
An important example of different evolutions in isolated ecosystems is one observed by British scientist, Charles Darwin in the Galapagos Islands.
Here, Darwin observed several species of birds, which had very similar physical characteristics, but with large differences in the size and shape of their beaks, which varied according to the food present on each of the islands.