What’s in a name?

Image mosaic

Mammals and octopus have both evolved a very similar camera-eye, and spiky desert-adapted succulents are found in both American and African deserts

The Map of Life presents widely accessible, top quality information about convergent evolution, based on information in scientific literature. Topics are interactive and fully illustrated, allowing you to actively explore and learn. As you explore, the patterns of evolution can take on new perspectives and you can even start to ask questions about predictability in biological systems.

The name ‘Map of Life’ reflects the way that evolution has repeatedly brought organisms to the same solutions from very different starting points, as though their evolutionary trajectories were following a metaphorical map to the same destination. As we learn more about patterns of convergence throughout the living world, we can define ever more clearly how predictable (or unpredictable) evolutionary pathways may be.

The Map of Life plays a unique part in synthesising exciting information on convergence for all the world to explore. We hope you enjoy it!

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