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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.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.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.Allometric relations can be studied during the growth of a single organism, between different organisms within a species, or between organisms in different species. amino acid: The unit molecular building block of proteins, which are chains of amino acids in a certain sequence.
Species adapt when succeeding generations emphasize beneficial characteristics.
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.
The diameter of the aperture determines the intensity of light admitted. archeology: The study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of physical remains, such as graves, tools, pottery, and other artifacts.
The pupil of a human eye is a self-adjusting aperture. archetype: The original form or body plan from which a group of organisms develops.