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A Common Loon looks off to the side as it takes a break from diving for its food in the Northwest Arm in Halifax.
The Loon offers a great example of something called convergent evolution. Convergent evolution is when two different species share adaptations for the same lifestyle that don’t originate from shared ancestry. Basically, this means that the same adaptations evolved separately, not from the same origin. If we compare the Loon’s body form with that of a cormorant, we will notice a lot of similarities. Long, sharp bill, slender neck, feet adapted for swimming, streamlined body. However, these adaptations do not come from shared ancestry, and evolved two separate times in the two different lineages. This allows both birds to excel in their diving hunts and get the prey they need to survive. Fun fact, this is also the bird on the $1 coin in Canada, which is the reason we call it a loonie! at Halifax, Nova Scotia