American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations while those less adapted tend to be eliminated.
- n. evolutionary biology A process by which heritable traits conferring survival and reproductive advantage to individuals, or related individuals, tend to be passed on to succeeding generations and become more frequent in a population, whereas other less favourable traits tend to become eliminated.
- n. quantitative genetics A process in which individual organisms or phenotypes that possess favourable traits are more likely to survive and reproduce: the differential survival and reproduction of phenotypes.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. (Biol.) the operation of natural laws analogous, in their operation and results, to designed selection in breeding plants and animals, and resulting in the
survival of the fittest; the elimination over time of species unable to compete in specific environments with other species more adapted to survival; -- the essential mechanism of evolution. The principle of natural selectionis neutral with respect to the mechanism by which inheritable changes occur in organisms (most commonly thought to be due to mutation of genes and reorganization of genomes), but proposes that those forms which have become so modified as to be better adapted to the existing environment have tended to survive and leave similarly adapted descendants, while those less perfectly adapted have tended to die out through lack of fitness for the environment, thus resulting in the survival of the fittest. See Darwinism.
- n. (Biol.) See under Natural.
- n. a natural process resulting in the evolution of organisms best adapted to the environment
“What would the intermediate stages between wings and halteres have looked like, and why would natural selection have favoured the intermediates?”
“In The Origin of Species Darwin proposed that natural selection acts on variation in the living world, rewarding the more fit and weeding out the less fit.”
“With a billion times the firepower of the puny labs that humans run, the M-H experiment has scoured the planet looking for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to build coherent biological machinery and has found absolutely nothing.”
“And some embryologies are better than others at throwing up fruitful ranges of genetic variation for natural selection to work upon, and might therefore be better at evolving.”
“If Darwinism could spin gold out of once-deadly oxygen, why can natural selection do nothing with modern antibiotics?”
“Random mutation and natural selection ornament biological spandrels more in the drip-painting style of the abstract American artist Jackson Pollock.”
“In fact, what we actually see is a forest in which each tree species evolved through natural selection favouring individual trees that out-competed rival individual trees, whether of their own or another species.”
“And, for an evolutionist, the important question is why natural selection does not do as an engineer would: go back to the drawing board and rejig things in a sensible manner.”
“High frequencies of alpha-thalassaemia are the result of natural selection by malaria.”
“Since I have a reputation as an arch-‘adaptationist’ allegedly obsessed with natural selection as the major or even only driving force of evolution you can have some confidence that if even I support the neutral theory it is unlikely that many other biologists will oppose it!”
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Looking for tweets for natural selection.