Published on February 4, 2018 by Lima Charlie
Brood parasitism has fascinated many scientists since the behavior was identified. Popular human affection for the devoir of child rearing has induced a particularly strong “hathos” for the practice in other species. Brood parasitism– when animals depend on other organisms to raise their young– is most notably an instance of convergent evolution in birds.
The cuckoo, cowbird, and honeyguides each lay their eggs in the nests of other birds, who are thus bamboozled into feeding and caring for their nestlings. The fact that this hijacked parenting operation occurred independently in each species yields an opportunity for biologists to study the convergent evolution phenomenon. Convergent evolution is the process by which species of different lineages separately develop similar traits. The teleonomy (the apparent purposes of natural structures) of such evolutionary changes are of great interest to scientists who want to put together a full story of evolution’s history.