Evolution is the process of adaptation through mutation which allows more desirable characteristics to be passed to the next generation. Over time, organisms evolve more characteristics that are beneficial to their survival. For living organisms to adapt and change to environmental pressures, genetic variation must be present. With genetic variation, individuals have differences in form and function that allow some to survive certain conditions better than others. These organisms pass their favorable traits to their offspring. Eventually, environments change, and what was once a desirable, advantageous trait may become an undesirable trait and organisms may further evolve. Evolution may be convergent with similar traits evolving in multiple species or divergent with diverse traits evolving in multiple species that came from a common ancestor. Evidence of evolution can be observed by means of DNA code and the fossil record, and also by the existence of homologous and vestigial structures.
process by which groups of organisms independently evolve to similar forms
process by which groups of organisms evolve in diverse directions from a common point
parallel structures in diverse organisms that have a common ancestor
reproduction of individuals with favorable genetic traits that survive environmental change because of those traits, leading to evolutionary change
genetic differences among individuals in a population
physical structure present in an organism but that has no apparent function and appears to be from a functional structure in a distant ancestor