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Evolution and adaptation.

  1. Apr 28, 2005 #1
    I hope this topic belongs in this forum. If not, please move it to where it should be.

    What is the difference between evolution and adaptation? Is evolution just the term used to embody all the adaptation that an organism has gone through?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 28, 2005 #2
  4. Apr 28, 2005 #3
    As far as I can tell, adaption is a form of evolution. Evolution means change over time. Adaption means, well adapting and that is only possible through evolution.

    Not all evolution changes adapt the organism to its surroundings.
  5. Apr 29, 2005 #4
    I think organisms need to adapt themselves consciously to develop
    and through a long long time of different developments-external and internal- they are said to evolve through time. Is what i am thinking correct,the same as yours?
  6. Apr 29, 2005 #5


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    This is NOT what evolution says, or nearly all biologists believe to be so. Rather, random small mutations of the genes cause random changes in the bodies and/or behaviors of the next generation, and the competition to use the environment causes the organisms with less adaptive mutations to have fewer offspring, while the more adaptive ones flourish and have more offspring, which over many generations, causes the organism to evolve into something else. What the organism wants has nothing to do with it, except that wanting something is a form of behavior that can be affected by a mutation like other behaviors.
  7. Apr 29, 2005 #6


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    This is what Lamarck thought, giraffes grow long necks to reach the fresh tree leaves up in a tree, after which the successive generations have a long neck. This has been proven wrong by genetics, the Darwinian view of successive mutations giving survival advantage is right.
  8. Apr 29, 2005 #7
    To elaborate a little on that:
    There is variation between different specimens within a population and some of them will produce more offspring than others. The offspring carries the genes of its parents so they will have similar traits that made their parents successful in producing offspring (being good a surviving, findings mates, etc.). This has the effect that over generations certain traits will become more abundant within the population. It depends on the environment which traits are good, and become more abundant because of that. So over generations nature selects (natural selection) the ones that are better adapted to the environment. In this way natural selection leads to adaptation of the population to its environment.

    Mutations bring new variation, although probably mostly harmful, sometimes it will produce new traits that are more adaptive so that after some generations this new trait will be abundantly present within the population.
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