Natural Selection Flashcards, test questions and answers
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What is Natural Selection?
Natural selection is the process by which certain traits become more or less common in a population over time due to their effects on survival and reproduction. Natural selection occurs when individuals with certain characteristics have an advantage in surviving and reproducing, while those without them are at a disadvantage. This process of natural selection leads to changes in the frequency of particular genes within the population over generations, resulting in evolution. The underlying mechanism of natural selection is differential reproductive success; that is, some individuals will reproduce better than others because of their advantageous traits. For example, if there is a trait among individuals that increases their chances of obtaining food, then these individuals will be able to produce more offspring than those without this trait. As time passes, more and more members of the population will possess this trait as it becomes increasingly beneficial for survival. Thus, over generations this particular gene or allele will become increasingly common in the population due to its increased prevalence among successful reproducers hence why it is called â€˜natural’ selection. Natural selection can occur both through environmental pressures (e.g., natural disasters) as well as through competition between species for resources such as food and space (i.e., interspecific competition). It can also take place within species due to differences in phenotype (i.e., intraspecific competition) for instance when one group outcompetes another group for limited resources like food or mates leading to different levels of reproductive success between them. In summary, natural selection is the process by which advantageous traits increase in frequency within populations over time due to their beneficial effects on survival and reproduction rates compared to other members who lack those traits; ultimately leading to evolutionary change across successive generations.