Deep-time convergent evolution in animal communication presented by shared adaptations for coping with noise in lizards and other animals
Ord, Terry et al. (2021), Deep-time convergent evolution in animal communication presented by shared adaptations for coping with noise in lizards and other animals, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.ncjsxksv5
Convergence in communication appears rare compared to other forms of adaptation. This is puzzling, given communication is acutely dependent on the environment and expected to converge in form when animals communicate in similar habitats. We uncover deep-time convergence in territorial communication between two groups of tropical lizards separated by over 140 million years of evolution: the Southeast Asian Draco and Caribbean Anolis. These groups have repeatedly converged in multiple aspects of display along common environmental gradients. Robot playbacks to free-ranging lizards confirmed the most prominent convergence in display is adaptive, as it improves signal detection. We then provide evidence from a sample of the literature to further show convergent adaptation among highly divergent animal groups is almost certainly widespread in nature. Signal evolution is therefore curbed towards the same set of adaptive solutions, especially when animals are challenged with the problem of communicating effectively in noisy environments.
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University of New South Wales