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Change Over Time

Vocabulary for Changes over time

TermDefinition
Evolution The process in which inherited characteristics within a population change over generations
Mutation An accident that results in a permanent change in the DNA code.
Adaptations Structures, functions, or behaviors that improve a species’ ability to survive and reproduce in an environment
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
Fossil Trace remains of an organism that lived long ago A fossil can be a complete organism, part of the organism, a footprint, or just an impression in the rock.
Fossil Record The timeline of life formed by studying fossils. The deeper the fossil is in the ground, the older it is, so it gives us the historical sequence of species that lived in an area.
Variation A trait that makes an organism different from other members of the same species
Extinct / Extinction No members of a species are alive today. The species did not experience the needed mutations to create traits to help it survive changes in its environment, so it died out.
Diversity Differences in the traits or adaptations of the members of a population due to differences in the genetic codes
Evidence for Evolution Fossil records, radiometric dating, genetic information, the distribution of organisms around the world, and physical similarities shared by different species
Species A group of organisms that are so closely related genetically that they can mate to produce more of the same kind of organism
 

 



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