Dictionary > Divergence

Divergence

Definition
noun
(evolutionary biology) The evolutionary process wherein a population of species diverge into two or more descendant species, resulting in once similar or related species becoming more and more dissimilar
(neuroscience) The spreading of branches of the neuron, forming synapses with other neurons
(ophthalmology) The outward turning motion of the eyeballs
(general) The act of diverging or spreading apart or in different directions
Supplement
In evolutionary biology, divergence pertains to an evolutionary process wherein a population of an inbreeding species diverges into two or more descendant species that have become more and more dissimilar in terms of forms and structures. This divergence results from their adaptation to their environment. An example of this is the development of wings in bats from the same bones that form the arm and hand (or paw) in other mammals.1 Another example is a flock of bird in migration. The flock gets divided since half of them would settle to a new island while the other half continued migrating to a farther land. In due time, the two groups adapt to their new habitat and develop new characteristics that enable them to survive. Eventually, they become different species to their ancestors. Thus, what was once one species diverged into two. This process is also called divergent evolution. It is in contrast to another evolutionary process, convergence (i.e. convergent evolution).
See also:

Related term(s):

  • Divergence excess exotropia
  • Divergence insufficiency
  • Reference(s):

    1 divergence. (n.d.). The American Heritage® Science Dictionary. Retrieved from Dictionary.com website: http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/divergence


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