Evidence for Evolution Vocabulary Terms

Concepts related to evolution through the process of natural selection.
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species
A group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring.
fossil
A trace of an ancient organism that has been preserved in rock
adaptation
A trait that helps an organism survive and reproduce
evolution
Change in a kind of organism over time; process by which modern organisms have descended from ancient organisms.
scientific theory
A well tested concept that explains a wide range of observations
natural selection
Process by which individuals that are better suited to their environment survive and reproduce most successfully; also called survival of the fittest
artificial selection
Selection by humans for breeding of useful traits from the natural variation among different organisms
variation
Difference among members of a species.
homologous structures
Structures in different species that are similar because of common ancestry.
gradualism
The theory that evolution occurs slowly but steadily
punctuated equilibrium
Pattern of evolution in which long stable periods are interrupted by brief periods of more rapid change
Charles Darwin
Traveled to the Galapagos Islands on the HMS Beagle and later wrote the book "The Origin of Species."
Overproduction
Strategy in which organisms make more offspring than will actually survive.
Fossil Record
All the fossils throughout the history of the Earth that are used as evidence of evolution.
Common Ancestor
An ancestral species from which later species evolved
Embryo
an unborn or unhatched offspring in the process of development
Vestigial Structures
A structure that is present in an organism but no longer serves its original purpose (ex. hip bones in whales)
DNA
Genetic information that can be used as evidence of evolution between organisms.
Isolation
When members of a species become separated which may lead to the evolution of new species.
Evidence of Evolution
1) Fossil Record
2) Embryology
3) Homologous Structures
4) DNA
5) Vestigial Structures
era
subdivision of geologic time that divides an eon into smaller units of time.
Several hundred million years.
epoch
is a subdivision of the geologic timescale that is longer than an age but shorter than a period

Tens of millions of years.
Paleontologist
A scientist that
study of fossils as a way of getting information about the history of life on earth and the structure of rocks.
Morphology
A branch of biology dealing with the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features. Study size, shape, structure of animals, plants, and microorganisms
anatomical features
structure of the body or organism
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