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Studying Homoplasy
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Studying Homoplasy

May 1, 2012
This graphic explains homoplasy, a fascinating and unusual occurrence in evolution where there is an independent acquisition of the same trait in unrelated lineages. To understand whether multiple organisms share the same trait because of homoplasy, their places in the evolutionary tree of life must be defined. Parallelism/convergence homoplasy occurs when the same trait is present in two lineages that lack a recent common ancestor. Reversal homoplasy occurs when a trait is present in an ancestor but not its immediate descendants--but appears later in a subsequent descendant. Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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