Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Is evolutin and adaptation the same thing?

  1. Sep 8, 2007 #1
    Is evolutin and "adaptation" the same thing?

    Birds associated with water will usually have webbed feet. This suggests they may have evolved from a more primitive species, possibly without webbed feet.

    Is this evolution, or merely an example of adaptation, or are they the same thing?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 8, 2007 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I think adaptation is a short term development, whereas evolution is long term. Clearly a successful adaptation will help a species survive, and over time that species may adapt to new conditions and could perhaps differentiate into new species depending on specific adaptations.

    The other day, I observed a heron which was standing in a stream, ostensibly looking for food (fish or amphibians or perhaps local crustaceans), and it certainly did not have webbed feet, but the species had made its home around water. Ducks, geese and swans have webbed feet, but they are all different (look at size and details like the neck).
  4. Sep 9, 2007 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Herons, though, like cranes, sandpipers, etc. are wading birds rather than aquatic. Their 'toes' have to splay out enough to prevent them from sinking into mud, but they don't require webs because they don't swim. Pretty much any birds that I know of who just float around on water, or dive under it, do have webs. 'Shore birds' such as herons are adapted for finding things like snails or tadpoles in shallow water.
  5. Sep 9, 2007 #4
    Biological evolution is a shift in allele frequency. Biological adaptation is sometimes used synonymous as natural selection, but it should not. An adaptation is a trait that has been favored by natural selection.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?

Similar Discussions: Is evolutin and adaptation the same thing?