A newly descovered ichthyosaur got in the news recently. It was found in a museum archive by a paleontologist. What catched my eye was the note that this was a “dolphin that got extinct 90 million years ago”. That’s weird, because according to the evolution fable, the ancestor of the dolphin, pakicetus, was still a land animal some 50 million years ago. I found that this is one of those “convergent evolution” stories. An animal got exctinct, and later a very similar animal got almost exactly the same properties. This inspired me to make a map of the evolutionary tree, to show the extremeness of “convergent evolution”. I’ve included a case of evolutionary stasis as well, using the coelacanth as example.
Below is an illustration from wikipedia to show the similarities between ichthyosaur and the dolphin.