Are dolphins and penguins an example of divergent evolution or convergent evolution? why?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

When unrelated organisms develop a similar biological trait, this is considered convergent evolution. In fact, although penguins appear to swim underwater, they are technically using their wings to fly underwater. They have a layer of blubber under their skin for insulation. Their body is streamlined, an adaptation for swimming easily as their body can cut through the water, propelled by their wings and their webbed feet are used for steering. Dolphins also have blubber to help insulate their bodies. They have a streamlined torpedo shape allowing for faster movement in water. Because many of the same characteristics are in both the penguin and dolphin but were arrived at via different evolutionary pathways, one would call this convergent evolution.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial