Adaptation is a modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence under the conditions of its environment. Adaptation refers to those properties of living organisms that allow them to survive and reproduce in nature. The word "adaptation" in physiology is used frequently, to describe an individual organism's phenotypic adjustment with respect to its environment. It has been observed that life "always" adapts to its surroundings through mutation. For either the life that exists adapts, or dies. Among living organisms, adaptation is often caused by reduction of information in the genome. According to evolutionary biologist Douglas Futuyma, adaptations are "features that appear 'designed' to fit organisms to their environment".
Natural Selection and Adaptation
- Main Article: Natural selection
Natural selection is also known as the survival of the fittest. It is an observable effect of nature and is considered a verifiable mechanism responsible for biological evolution. Adaptation and Natural selection are biological facts, yet ameba-to-man evolution is not. The natural limit on the amount of variation that can occurs in a species is an expression of the fact that nowhere is an endless biological plasticity that can withstand an unlimited adaptation to different environments.
Traits are found to exist within a population in a variety of forms, and these differences will afford individuals a greater or lesser chance of success. If the trait is beneficial to the organism, then its genes will be passed to the next generation at a higher frequency, or vice versa if it is harmful. This is said to be the "natural selection" of a trait.
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- Animal Adaptations Utah Education Network