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.