What is the difference between divergent evolution and convergent evolution?
Divergent evolution is when two different species share the same ancestral origins but have evolved differently whereas convergent evolution is when species with different ancestral origins have developed similar features
Both the wooly mammoth and the elephant originated from a common ancestor, but the common ancestor eventually diverged, leading to two new species.
In convergent evolution, two species that are not necessarily closely related develop similar features often as a result of adaptation to similar conditions. For example, consider the flying squirrel and sugar glider:
These two species look very similar but are not closely related. Flying squirrels are placental mammals like whales, dogs, and humans, whereas sugar gliders are marsupials like kangaroos and possums. The species’ current similarity is an example of convergent evolution; they have begun to look more similar due to similar adaptations, not because of common ancestry.