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the change in a population's inherited traits from generation to generation


A trait that helps an organism survive and reproduce.


Significant deviations from the normal biological form or structure

natural selection

process by which individuals that are better adapted to the environment are more likely to survive and reproduce than others

artificial selection

process where humans selectively breed organisms to obtain a certain phenotype

Hutton and Lyell

scientists who proposed the Earth was millions of years old due to their geological findings.

George Cuvier

scientist who proposed natural events caused previous animal species to become extinct.

Thomas Malthus

predicted the population would outgrow the food source if restrictions were not put in place


French naturalist who proposed that evolution resulted from the inheritance of acquired characteristics

Charles Darwin

English natural scientist who formulated a theory of evolution by natural selection.

fossil record

chronological collection of life's remains in sedimentary rock layers


having the same evolutionary origin but serving different functions


body structure that has no function in a present day organism but was useful to an ancestor


the study of fossils


proposed by George Cuvier,


the ship that Charles Darwin sailed in


a model of evolution in which gradual change over a long period of time leads to biological diversity


is the idea that the geologic processes that operate today also operated in the past

Hardy-Weinberg principle

theory stating that in the absence of forces that change the proportions of alleles at a give locus, the original genotype proportions will remain constant from one generation to the next, in a large population with random mating

Hardy-Weinberg Equation

p^2 + 2pq+q^2=1

Genetic drift

the change in frequencies of particular alleles in a small population, caused by chance alone

gene flow

movement of new genes into a gene pool. This movement can reduce difference between populations that were caused by isolation and genetic drift.

non-random mating

any situation in which individuals do not choose mates on a random basis, such as mating in base don proximity, relatedness, or similarity of phenotype


Permanent change in the genetic material of an organism

founder effect

cause of genetic drift due to a small group of individuals colonizing a new area; the small group probably will not contain all the genes represented in the parent population

bottleneck effect

occurs when a population is greatly reduced by events such as natural disaster or over hunting, resulting in certain alleles being overrepresented and other alleles being underrepresented or absent in the population due to chance


mating between closely related partners

assortative mating

type of non-random mating in which individuals choose partners that have similar phenotype such as size

sexual selection

selection for mating based in general on competition between males and choices made by females (ie. humans)

sexual dimorphism

the difference between males and females of the same species

chemical evolution

theory that life on Earth occurred began as the natural result of the evolution of inorganic matter

panspermia theory

suggest that life originated elsewhere in the universe and then migrated to our planet

Gaia theory

view that earth is a living super organism which is maintained and regulated by life on its surface

intelligent design theory

suggests that life mechanisms are too complex to have evolved by chance, must have been directed by an unidentified supernatural intelligence


the merging of organisms into new collectives; development of a new species through close association of organisms of different species that is of mutual benefit

Stanley Miller

designed an experiment to test the Oparin-Haldane theory by preparing an atmosphere similar to early earth with electric sparks as an energy source. Resulted in the production of several organic compounds

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