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Chapter 14-15

Biology Vocab

Biogenesis The theory that living organisms come only from other living organisms.
Spontaneous Generation An early and now disproved theory that living organisms come to life spontaneously from nonliving material.
Radiometric Dating A method of determining the absolute age of an object by comparing the relative percentages of a radioactive (parent) isotope and a stable (daughter) isotope.
Isotope An atom that has the same number of protons (or the same atomic number) as other atoms of the same element do but that has a different number of neutrons (and thus a different atomic mass).
Mass Number The sum of the numbers of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom.
Radioactive Decay The disintegration of an unstable atomic nucleus into one or more different nuclides, accompanied by the emission of radiation, the nuclear capture or ejection of electrons, or fission.
Radioactive Isotope An isotope that has an unstable nucleus and that emits radiation.
Half-Life The time required for half of a sample of a radioactive isotope to break down by radioactive decay to form a daughter isotope.
Microsphere Are spherical in shape and are composed of many protein molecules that are organized as a membrane.
Coacervate A mass of colloidal substances held together by electrostatic attraction.
Ribozyme A type of RNA that can act as an enzyme.
Archaea Prokaryotes (most of which are known to live in extreme environments) that are distinguished from other prokaryotes by differences in their genetics and in the makeup of their cell wall; members of a domain of the same name.
Chemosynthesis The production of carbohydrates through the use of energy from inorganic molecules instead of light.
Cyanobacteria A group of photosynthetic, unicellular prokaryotes.
Ozone A gas molecule that is made up of three oxygen atoms.
Endosymbiosis A mutually beneficial relationship in which one organism lives within another.
Evolution A heritable change in the characteristics within a population form one generation to the next; the development of new types of organisms from preexisting types of organisms over time.
Strata Layers of rock.
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.
Adaptation The process of becoming adapted to an environment; an anatomical, physiological, or behavioral change that improves a population's ability to survive.
Fitness A measurement of the ability of a species to respond to the pressures of natural selection; the ability of individuals to survive to propagate their genes.
Fossil The trace or remains of an organism that lived long ago, most commonly preserved in sedimentary rock.
Superposition A principle that states that younger rocks lie above older rocks if the layers have not been disturbed.
Relative Age The age of an object in relation to the ages of other objects.
Absolute Age The numeric age of an object or event, often stated in years before the present, as established by an absolute-dating process, such as radiometric dating.
Biogeography The study of the geographical distribution of living organisms and fossils on Earth.
Homologous Structure Anatomical structures that share a common ancestry.
Analogous Structure Have closely related functions but do not derive from the same ancestral structure.
Vestigial Structure A structure in an organism that is reduced in size and function and that may have been complete and functional in the organism's ancestors.
Phylogeny The evolutionary history of a species or taxonomic group.
Convergent Evolution The process by which unrelated species become more similar as they adapt to the same kind of environment.
Divergent Evolution The process by which two or more related but reproductively isolated populations become more and more dissimilar.
Adaptive Radiation An evolutionary pattern in which many species evolve from a single ancestral species.
Artificial Selection The selective breeding of organisms (by humans) for specific desirable characteristics.
Coevolution The evolution of two of more species that is due to mutual influence, often in a way that makes the relationship more mutually beneficial.
Created by: Sadrian18