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Convergent Evolution: Why bears and seals are more similar than you thinkScience project video

Abstract

Convergent evolution refers to how different species of organisms evolve to possess similar physical characteristics, in order to adapt to a particular environment. At first look, bears and seals may appear to have little in common other than both of them being mammals. Yet, the skeletal structures of their feet are very similar. In this investigation, you will select a biome and identify a convergent species.

Objective

Identify a convergent species.

Scientific Terms

Convergent evolution, Biome

Background

Convergent evolution is the study of how different species develop similar physical traits in order to adapt to similar environmental conditions. Biomes are biological communities that are distinguished by climatic conditions and the species that inhabit it. One category of biomes are the deserts. Whereever deserts occur in the world, they all share similar environmental conditions, one of which is an abundance of sand or sand dunes. The sidewinder is a species of viper that lives in the deserts of the south western United States. The sawscaled viper of Africa is an entirely different species of snake; however, both the saw-scaled viper and the sidewinder employ the same distinct sideways motion in order to gain traction across the desert sands. Both species have adapted to the same environmental conditions by using the same strategy. But the physical features that are shared by convergent species may also include internal similarities - for example, the paws of the bear and the flippers of the seal share the same bone structure.

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