Evolution vocab chapter 4
adaptation
Any genetically controlled structural, physiological, or behavioral characteristic that helps an organism survive and reproduce under a given set of environmental conditions. It usually results from a beneficial mutation.
adaptive radiation
Process in which numerous new species evolve to fill vacant and new ecological niches in changed environments, usually after a mass extinction. Typically, this takes millions of years.
adaptive trait
Any genetically controlled structural, physiological, or behavioral characteristic that helps an organism survive and reproduce under a given set of environmental conditions. It usually results from a beneficial mutation.
artificial selection
Process by which humans select one or more desirable genetic traits in the population of a plant or animal species and then use selective breeding to produce populations containing many individuals with the desired traits.
background extinction
Normal extinction of various species as a result of changes in local environmental conditions.
biological evolution
Change in the genetic makeup of a population of a species in successive generations. If continued long enough, it can lead to the formation of a new species. Note that populations-not individuals-evolve.
chemical evolution
Formation of the earth and its early crust and atmosphere, evolution of the biological molecules necessary for life, and evolution of systems of chemical reactions needed to produce the first living cells. These processes are believed to have occurred about 1 billion years before biological evolution.
coevolution
Evolution in which two or more species interact and exert selective pressures on each other that can lead each species to undergo various adaptations.
differential reproduction
Phenomenon in which individuals with adaptive genetic traits produce more living offspring than do individuals without such traits.
domesticated species
Wild species tamed or genetically altered by crossbreeding for use by humans for food (cattle, sheep, and food crops), pets (dogs and cats), or enjoyment (animals in zoos and plants in gardens).
ecological niche
Total way of life or role of a species in an ecosystem. It includes all physical, chemical, and biological conditions a species needs to live and reproduce in an ecosystem.
endemic species
Species that is found in only one area. Such species are especially vulnerable to extinction.
evolution
Change in the genetic makeup of a population of a species in successive generations. If continued long enough, it can lead to the formation of a new species. Note that populations-not individuals-evolve.
extinction
Complete disappearance of a species from the earth. This happens when a species cannot adapt and successfully reproduce under new environmental conditions or when it evolves into one or more new species.
fundamental niche
The full potential range of the physical, chemical, and biological factors a species can use if there is no competition from other species.
gene mutation
Random change in DNA molecules making up genes that can alter anatomy, physiology, or behavior in offspring.
gene pool
The sum total of all genes found in the individuals of the population of a particular species.
gene splicing
Insertion of an alien gene into an organism to give it a beneficial genetic trait.
geographic isolation
Separation of populations of a species for long times into different areas.
invertebrates
Animals that have no backbones.
macroevolution
Long-term, large-scale evolutionary changes among groups of species.
mass extinction
A catastrophic, widespread, often global event in which major groups of species are wiped out over a short time compared with normal (background) extinctions.
microevolution
The small genetic changes a population undergoes.
mutation
Random change in DNA molecules making up genes that can alter anatomy, physiology, or behavior in offspring.
natural rate of extinction
Normal extinction of various species as a result of changes in local environmental conditions.
natural selection
Process by which a particular beneficial gene (or set of genes) is reproduced in succeeding generations more than other genes. The result of natural selection is a population that contains a greater proportion of organisms better adapted to certain environmental conditions.
niche
Total way of life or role of a species in an ecosystem. It includes all physical, chemical, and biological conditions a species needs to live and reproduce in an ecosystem.
realized niche
Parts of the fundamental niche of a species that are actually used by that species.
reproductive isolation
Long-term geographic separation of members of a particular sexually reproducing species.
specialist species
Species with a narrow ecological niche. They may be able to live in only one type of habitat, tolerate only a narrow range of climatic and other environmental conditions, or use only one type or a few types of food.
speciation
Formation of two species from one species because of divergent natural selection in response to changes in environmental conditions; usually takes thousands of years.
theory of evolution
Widely accepted scientific idea that all life forms developed from earlier life forms. Although this theory conflicts with the creation stories of many religions, it is the way biologists explain how life has changed over the past 3.6-3.8 billion years and why it is so diverse today.
vertebrates
Animals that have backbones.
wild species
Species found in the natural environment.
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