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Geologic time

earth history


a change over time in the hereditary features (genes) of a species


when an entire group of organisms ceases to exist


when a large era is broken up into smaller units of time

The Fossil Record

all of the fossils ever discovered. It is very incomplete




ancient life


middle life


recent life


any evidence of prehistoric life.

relative dating

comparing rock layers (fossils) and discovering their age

radioactive dating

using the breakdown (decay) of radioactive elements to tell how old an object is

comparative anatomy

comparing the body plans of different organisms

homologous structures

body parts that are similar in different organisms

vestigal organs

body parts that are not used by an organism and are shrinking


the study of embryos (developing embryos)

biochemical similarities

(DNA, proteins, etc) DNA similar in related species ex. chimp DNA 99%=Human DNA

Charles Darwin

English scientist who discovered how the process of evolution works. Was a naturalist for H.M.S. Beagle (5 years, around the world). Made many observations especially in the Galapagos Islands

Darwin's Finches

noticed that finches on different islands had different adaptations to different environment

Natural selection

process by which organisms with favorable traits survive and reproduce at a higher rate than organisms without the favorable trait. The environment determines what is favorable

over production of offspring

biological surplus

variations within species

individuals within a population are different fron one another

struggle to survive

competition; not enough resources (food, water, mates, space,etc) for all members of a population

successful reproduction

because organisms with the advantages will be more likely to survive and reproduce, they will pass on their variations to their offspring

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