Evolution Vocab List

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
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.
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