Evolution Vocab List 1. Evolution- The process by which living things have changed over time 2. Extinct species- a species that no longer exists anywhere on earth 3. Classification/taxonomy- biological classification is a system which is used to organize and codify all life on Earth. 4. Natural selection- the process by which forms of life having traits that better enable them to adapt to specific environmental pressures. 5. Speciation- the formation of new species as a result of geographic, physiological, anatomical, or behavioral factors that prevent previously interbreeding populations from breeding with each other. 6. Adaptation- when an organism becomes better fitted to survive and multiply in its environment. 7. DNA- deoxyribonucleic acid: an extremely long macromolecule that is the main component of chromosomes and is the material that transfers genetic characteristics in all life forms 8. Genetic diversity- the level of biodiversity, refers to the total number of genetic characteristics in the genetic makeup of a species. 9. Phenotype- is an organisms observable characteristics which are influenced both by its genotype and by the environment. 10. Genotype- is the set of genes that it carries. 11. Niche- includes both the animals or plants physical habitat and how it has adapted to life in that habitat. 12. Mutation- A mutation occurs when a DNA gene is damaged or changed in such a way as to alter the genetic message carried by that gene. 13. Gene: A segment of DNA that codes for a particular protein. 14. Gene pool: All the genes of all the members in a population. 15. Selective pressure: Any environmental factor that favors one trait over another. 16. Species: Any group of organisms, the members of which successfully breed with each other, producing healthy, fertile offspring. 17. Genetic isolation: What occurs when two groups of one species are prevented from breeding with each other. 18. Inherited trait: An inherited characteristic—such as hair and eye color or muscle and bone structure—that has been passed on from a previous generation. 19. Acquired trait: An acquired characteristic—such as the ability to ride a bike or do karate— that is attained throughout life. Acquired traits are not passed on genetically.