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Unit 7 Vocabulary

Unit 7 Vocabulary-Evolution

Adaptation:  A characteristic that improves an idividual's ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment

Fossil:  The trace or remains of an organism that lived long ago, most commonly preserved in sedimentary rock

Species:  A group of organisms that are closely related and can mate to produce fertile offspring

Fossil Record:  A historical sequence of life indicated by fossils found in layers of the Earth's crust.

Evolution:  The process which inherited characteristics within a population change over generations such that new species sometimes arise

Natural Selection:  The process by which individuals that are better adapted to their environment survive and reproduce more successfully than less well adapted individuals do; A theory to explain the mechansim of evolution

Generation Time:  The period between the birth of one gernation and the birth of the next generation.

Speciation:  The formation of new species as a result of evolution

Charles Darwin:  The father of evolution; came up with the theory of natural selection.

Variation: A difference in structure or character from others of the same species or group.

Niche:  The role an organism plays in its ecosytem; everything it does to survive

Mutations:  Changes in the genetic makeup of an organism that can be an important source of new traits.   These changes can be helpful and harmful.

Population:  A group of individuals of the same species

Punctuated Equilibrium:  Changes that occurs in "spurts" as a result of a natural disaster or mutation

Gradualism:  Small variations that occur gradually, over time.

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