Natural Selection and Adaptation Vocabulary

Term Definition
fossil the preserved remains or traces of an organism that lived in the past
species a group of similar organisms that can mate with each other and produce fertile offspring
extinction the process of every member of a species disappearing from Earth
behavioral adaptations a thing that organisms do to survive in a particular environment, such as the way they feed, breed, or move
physical adaptations a changing characteristic of an organism that enables it to survive in a particular environment; these changes usually happen gradually over generations
adaptation behavioral or physical characteristic that allows an organism to survive in its environment
homologous structures body parts that are structurally similar in related species; provide evidence that the structures were inherited from a common ancestor
natural selection the process by which individuals that are better adapted to their environment are more likely to survive and reproduce than other members of the same species
fitness the ability of an organism to produce offspring that survive and reproduce

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