26 terms

C5-6 Evolution and History of Life

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species
a group of organisms that can mate with one another to produce fertile offspring
adaptation
a characteristic that helps an organism survive and reproduce in its environment
evolution
the process in which populations gradually change over time
fossils
the trace or remains of an organism that lived long ago, most commonly preserved in sedimentary rock
fossil record
a timeline of life that organizes fossils by their estimated ages and physical similarities
trait
a genetically determined characteristic
selective breeding
the human practice of breeding animals or plants that have certain desired traits
natural selection
the process by which individuals that are better adapted to their environment SURVIVE AND REPRODUCE more successfully than less well adapted individuals do; a theory to explain the mechanism of evolution
population
all the individuals of one species in a given area
generation time
the period between the birth of one generation and the birth of the next generation
speciation
the formation of new species as a result of evolution (3 steps = separation, adaptation, division)
separation
when a part of a population becomes separated from the rest
division
over many generations, two separated groups of a population become different until the point when they can no longer mate with one another
relative dating
any method of determining whether an event or object is older or younger than other events or objects
absolute dating
any method of measuring the age of an event or object in years by means of chemistry
geologic time scale
the standard method used to divide Earth's long natural history into manageable parts
extinct
describes a species that has died out completely
plate tectonics
the theory that explains how large pieces of Earth's outermost layer move and change shape
Precambrian time
the interval of time in the geologic time scale from Earth s formation to the beginning of the Paleozoic era, from 4.6 billion to 542 million years ago
Paleozoic era
the geologic era that followed Precambrian time and that lasted from 542 million to 251 million years ago where life came onto land
Mesozoic era
the geologic era that lasted from 251 million to 65.5 million years ago; also called the Age of Reptiles
Cenozoic era
the current geologic era, which began 65.5 million years ago; also called the Age of Mammals
primates
a type of mammal characterized by opposable thumbs and binocular vision
hominids
a type of primate characterized by bipedalism, relatively long lower limbs, and lack of a tail; examples include humans and their ancestors (australopithecines and Neanderthal)
bipedalism
walking primarily upright on two feet
Homo sapiens
the species of hominids that includes modern humans and their closest ancestors and that first appeared about 100,000 to 200,000 years ago
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