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Chapter 10

Principles of Evolution

evolution change in a species over time; process of biological change by which descendants come to differ from their ancestors
species group of organisms so similar to one another that they can breed and produce fertile offspring
fossil trace of an organism from the past
catastrophism theory that states that natural disasters such as floods and volcanic eruptions shaped Earth's landforms and caused extinction of some species
gradualism principle that states that the changes in landforms result from slow changes over a long period of time
uniformitarianism theory that states that the geologic processes that shape Earth are uniform through time
variation differences in physical traits of an individual from the group in which it belongs
adaptation inherited trait that is selected over time because it allows organisms to better survive in their environment
artificial selection process by which humans modify a species by breeding it for certain traits
heritability ability of a trait to be passed from one generation to the next
natural selection mechanism by which individuals that have inherited beneficial adaptations produce more offspring on average than do other individuals
population all of the individuals of a species that live in the same area
fitness measure of an organism's ability to survive and produce offspring relative to other members of a population
biogeography study of the distribution of organisms around the world
homologous structure body part that is similar in structure on different organisms but performs different functions
vestigial structure remnants of an organ or structure that functioned in an earlier ancestor
paleontology study of fossils or extinct organisms
Created by: harolds21