Also used to describe the process of genetic change within a population, as influenced by natural selection.
adaptive landscape: A graph of the average fitness of a population in relation to the frequencies of genotypes in it.
analogous structures: Structures in different species that look alike or perform similar functions (e.g., the wings of butterflies and the wings of birds) that have evolved convergently but do not develop from similar groups of embryological tissues, and that have not evolved from similar structures known to be shared by common ancestors. Note: The recent discovery of deep genetic homologies has brought new interest, new information, and discussion to the classical concepts of analogous and homologous structures.
anatomy: (1) The structure of an organism or one of its parts. ancestral homology: Homology that evolved before the common ancestor of a set of species, and which is present in other species outside that set of species. anthropoid: A member of the group of primates made up of monkeys, apes, and humans.
ammonoid: Extinct relatives of cephalopods (squid, octopi, and chambered nautiluses), these mollusks had coiled shells and are found in the fossil record of the Cretaceous period.
aperture: Of a camera, the adjustable opening through which light passes to reach the film.acquired trait: A phenotypic characteristic, acquired during growth and development, that is not genetically based and therefore cannot be passed on to the next generation (for example, the large muscles of a weightlifter).adaptation: Any heritable characteristic of an organism that improves its ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.artifact: An object made by humans that has been preserved and can be studied to learn about a particular time period.artificial selection: The process by which humans breed animals and cultivate crops to ensure that future generations have specific desirable characteristics.amphibians: The class of vertebrates that contains the frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders.The amphibians evolved in the Devonian period (about 370 million years ago) as the first vertebrates to occupy the land.allometry: The relation between the size of an organism and the size of any of its parts.For example, an allometric relation exists between brain size and body size, such that (in this case) animals with bigger bodies tend to have bigger brains.The term can also be applied to larger groups of organisms, as in "the adaptive radiation of mammals." adaptive strategies: A mode of coping with competition or environmental conditions on an evolutionary time scale.Species adapt when succeeding generations emphasize beneficial characteristics.