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Evolution

7th Grade Evolution Test

TermDefinition
Theory explanation of things or events based on scientific knowledge resulting from many observations and experiments
Hypothesis a prediction that can be tested
Natural Selection a process by which organisms with traits best suited to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce; includes concepts of variation, overproduction, and competition
Variation an inherited trait that makes an individual different from other members of the same species and results from a mutation in the organism’s genes
Adaptation any variation that makes an organism more suited to its environment
Evolution change in inherited characteristics over time
Biodiversity the sum total of all the living things on the planet
Galapagos Islands small islands off the coast of Ecuador which Darwin visited, he viewed many different species there which helped shape his theory of evolution by natural selection
Charles Darwin naturalist considered the ‘father of evolution’, studied the similarities between organisms to form his theory of evolution by natural selection
HMS Beagle the ship that Darwin sailed around the world on, left England in December 1831
On the Origin of Species Darwin developed his theory of evolution years after returning home from his voyage, his thoughts on evolution by natural selection are included in this book, which he authored
Common Ancestor The nearest evolutionary relative for a group of organisms
Embryology The branch of biology that deals with the formation, early growth, and development of living organisms
DNA Deoxyribonucleic Acid, the molecule from living organisms that is used to identify similarities among species
Sedimentary Rocks Rock that is formed when layers of sand, slit , clay or mud are compacted and cemented together or when minerals are deposited from a solution; Limestone, sandstone and shale are examples; Fossils are found more often in these types of rocks
Fossils The preserved remains of a living organism preserved as a cast or as an impression
Radioactive Element Gives off a steady stream of radiation as it slowly changes into a non-radioactive element; Gives scientists a more accurate picture of when in history certain rock layers were formed
Relative Dating In undisturbed areas, younger rock layers are deposited on top of older rock layers; Provides only an estimate of a fossil’s age Estimate by comparing layers both above and below fossils
Radiometric Dating The process of using radioactive elements in the earth to determine the approximate age of rock layers and the fossils within them
Analogous Structures adaptations that have a similar function, but not a similar evolutionary past.; For example – many insects, birds, and even mammals have wings. They do not have a close common ancestor
Homologous Structures Body parts that are similar in function and evolutionary origin For example – the arm bones of humans, frogs, and even bats have similar structures arranged in different ways, leading us to assume they have a common ancestor
Vestigial Structures Structures in the body that don’t appear to have a function They do help us to understand evolution and common ancestry For example – ear muscles on humans once helped our ancestors rotate their ears to hear better, today we can just wiggle our ears!
Survival of the Fittest In his theory of natural selection, which is discussed in greater detail later, Charles Darwin suggested that this was the basis for organic evolution (the change of living things with time).