Genetic change in a population or species over generations; all the changes that transform life on Earth; the heritable changes that have produced Earth's diversity of organisms.
descent with modification
The idea that all organisms are descended from a single ancestor.
Explains current observations and predicts new observations.
An inherited characteristic that enhances an organism's ability to survive and reproduce in a particular environment.
Structures that are similar in different species of common ancestry.
A change in the nucleotide sequence of DNA; the ultimate source of genetic diversity.
The process by which individuals that are better adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce than other members of the same species.
A group whose members possess similar anatomical characteristics and have the ability to interbreed.
Jean Baptiste Lamarck
Proposed that acquired characteristics were inheritable.
Argued that human overpopulation would lead to decreasing living standards if left unchecked; plants and animals produce more offspring than can survive; influenced Darwin's thinking on Natural Selection.
Popularized Uniformitarianism--the idea that natural forces in the past are the same as today; influenced Darwin's thinking on Natural Selection.
Natural forces in the past, such as erosion and sedimentation, are the same as today; gradual change over long periods of time have shaped many of the geological features of the planet.
The relative ability of an organism to survive and transmit its genes to the next generation.
The entire collection of genes among a population of organisms.
The study of gene pools and their changes.
A structure of marginal, if any, importance to an organism; historical remnants of structures that had important functions in ancestors.
The study of differences in chemicals and chemical processes among species.
The branch of embryology that compares the development of embryos of two or more species.
Studies the similarities and differences between the genes of different species to determine how closely related they are.
Physical features of an organism--shape, body covering, skeletal structure, etc.--that improve its ability to survive and reproduce.
Biochemical features of an organism--digestive enzymes, for instance--that improve its ability to survive and reproduce.
Inherited behaviors or an inherited tendency to learn specific behaviors that improve an organism's ability to survive and reproduce.
Breeding of organisms with specific traits in order to produce offspring with those desired traits.