26 terms

Evolutionary History

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adaptive trait
a trait that makes it more likely that an individual will survive in a specific environment
ancestor
a related organism from a previous generation
body structure
a part of an organism (for example, one or more bones)
common ancestor population
an older population from which two or more newer species descended
descendant species
a more recent species that evolved from an ancestor population
diagnose
to classify based on scientific examination
environment
everything (living and nonliving) that surrounds an organism
evolution
the process by which species adapt to environmental changes over a very long time
evolutionary time
the very long time that spans the history of Earth, from the very first cellular life to the present
extinct
having died out completely and no longer alive anywhere on Earth
fossil
evidence of life from the past, such as fossilized bones, footprints, or leaf prints
generation
a group of individuals born and living at about the same time
histogram
a graph that uses bars to show how characteristics or values are distributed within a group
inherit
to receive genes from a parent
limb
an organism's arm, leg, or wing
mutation
a random change to a gene that sometimes results in a new trait
natural selection
the process by which the distribution of traits in a population changes over many generations
organisms
living things, such as plants, animals, and bacteria
paleontologist
a scientist who studies fossils in order to understand the ancient history of life on Earth
population
a group of the same type of organism living in the same area
related
sharing a common ancestor population
shared structure
a body structure in two or more species that features the same parts (for example, the same bones)
speciation
the process by which one population evolves into two or more different species
species
a group of organisms of the same kind (in one or more populations) that do not reproduce with organisms from any other group
stability
when something stays mostly the same over time
trait
a specific characteristic of an individual organism
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