Taking a Look at Adaptation

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There are many factors that affect the survival or extinction of a population of organisms. However, one of the most thought-provoking factors of survival is that of animal adaptation. Over the years, animal adaptations have astonished scientists and led to many discoveries of how organisms have survived throughout time. An adaptation is a feature of an animal that has changed over the course of time to better help the animal survive in their given habitat. Natural selection is what causes adaptations to occur. When various animals develop an adaptation, they can then increase their population because they are more suited for their environment. Many characteristics of an organism can be considered an adaptation. For example, mimicry (Figure 1), natural defense mechanisms, and camouflage (Figure 2) are all various adaptations (Understanding Evolution, 2014). However, there are also things that are not adaptations that still benefit an animal’s survival. In order for a characteristic of an animal to be an adaptation, it must have four distinct criteria. These criteria are that the trait is inherited from ancestors, is currently functional in the animal, increases the animal’s capabilities, and the trait was a result of natural selection (Understanding Evolution, 2014).
The first thing to consider when deciding whether a trait is an adaptation is whether the trait can be passed down to offspring. Characteristics such as hiding abilities, not including the ability to camouflage
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