17 terms

Biology 9: Evidence for Evolution

vestigial structure
remnant of a structure that may have had an important function in a species' ancestors, but has no clear function in the modern species
homologous structure
body parts that are structurally similar in related species; provide evidence that the structures were inherited from a common ancestor.
the remains (or an impression) of a plant or animal that existed in a past geological age and that has been excavated from the soil
a theory that explains how random changes in genetic material and competition for scarce resources cause species to change gradually
a group of organisms of the same species populating a given area
natural selection
process by which individuals that are better suited to their environment survive and reproduce most successfully; also called survival of the fittest
inherited characteristic that increases an organism's chance of survival
group of similar organisms that can breed and produce fertile offspring
one who comes down from a common ancestor
common ancestor
An ancestral species from which later species evolved
Process through which early prokaryotic cells are thought to have engulfed other, smaller cells and eventually incorporated them as organelles (such as mitochondria and chloroplasts); these cells evolved into modern-day eukaryotes.
comparative embryology
The comparison of stages of embryo development that shows how the embryos of different groups resemble each other at particular stages. Similarities indicate groups may share a common ancestor
molecular homology
similarities at molecular level that indicate evolution from a common ancestor or interrelated group of common ancestors; DNA or protein sequences for genes with low mutation rates are compared, usually cytochrome c
Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
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
differential reproductive success
the tendency of some individuals to have greater reproductive success and produce more living offspring than other individuals in a population
the variety of alleles and traits in a population