Evolutionary Biology - Middle School

If you need to learn about evolution, you'll naturally want to select this list of terms related to evolutionary biology. Review heredity, adaptation, extinction, and more. When it comes to vocabulary success, it's survival of the fittest — but this list is sure to give you an advantage over the competition.
Read more...

Start learning with an activity...

  • Practice

    Answer a few questions on each word. Get one wrong? We'll ask some follow-up questions. Use it to prep for your next quiz!
  • Spelling Bee

    Test your spelling acumen. See the definition, listen to the word, then try to spell it correctly. Beat your last streak, or best your overall time. Spellers of the world, untie!
  • Vocabulary Jam

    Compete head-to-head in real-time to see which team can answer the most questions correctly. Start a Jam and invite your friends and classmates to join!

Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. acquired
    gotten through environmental forces
  2. adaptation
    the process of adjusting or conforming to new conditions
  3. adaptive radiation
    the development of many different forms from an originally homogeneous group of organisms as they fill different ecological niches
  4. analogous
    corresponding in function but not in evolutionary origin
  5. anatomy
    the study of the structure of animals
  6. biodiversity
    the variety of plant and animal life in a habitat
  7. biogeography
    the study of the distribution of animals and plants
  8. camouflage
    exploit the natural surroundings to disguise something
  9. Charles Darwin
    English natural scientist who formulated a theory of evolution by natural selection (1809-1882)
  10. comparative anatomy
    the study of anatomical features of animals of different species
  11. competition
    the act of contending with others for rewards or resources
  12. diversity
    noticeable variety
  13. DNA
    a long linear polymer found in the nucleus of a cell
  14. embryonic
    of an organism prior to birth or hatching
  15. evolution
    sequence of events involved in the development of a species
  16. extinction
    the state of being no longer in existence
  17. fossil
    the remains of a plant or animal from a past geological age
  18. generation
    group of genetically related organisms in a line of descent
  19. genotype
    the alleles at specified loci present in an organism
  20. habitat
    the type of environment in which an organism normally lives
  21. heredity
    the transmission of genetic factors to the next generation
  22. homologous
    having the same evolutionary origin
  23. homology
    the quality of being similar or corresponding in position or value or structure or function
  24. inherit
    receive by genetic transmission
  25. inherited
    occurring among members of a family usually by heredity
  26. isolation
    the act of setting something apart from others
  27. Jean Baptiste de Lamarck
    French naturalist who proposed that evolution resulted from the inheritance of acquired characteristics (1744-1829)
  28. macroevolution
    evolution on a large scale extending over geologic era and resulting in the formation of new taxonomic groups
  29. microevolution
    evolution resulting from small specific genetic changes that can lead to a new subspecies
  30. mimicry
    the resemblance of an animal species to another species
  31. natural selection
    a process in which organisms evolve to adapt to environment
  32. niche
    status of an organism within its environment and community
  33. overproduction
    too much production or more than expected
  34. phenotype
    what an organism looks like
  35. phylogeny
    evolutionary development of a species or group of organisms
  36. polygenic
    of or relating to an inheritable character that is controlled by several genes at once; of or related to or determined by polygenes
  37. population
    a group of organisms of the same species inhabiting an area
  38. punctuated equilibrium
    a theory of evolution holding that evolutionary change in the fossil record came in fits and starts rather than in a steady process of slow change
  39. speciation
    the evolution of a biological species
  40. species
    taxonomic group whose members can interbreed
  41. stratum
    one of several parallel layers of material
  42. survival of the fittest
    a natural process resulting in the evolution of organisms best adapted to the environment
  43. taxonomy
    a classification of organisms based on similarities
  44. theory
    a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the world
  45. theory of evolution
    (biology) a scientific theory of the origin of species of plants and animals
  46. variation
    the process of being or becoming different
  47. vestigial
    not fully developed in mature animals
Created on February 5, 2017 (updated April 4, 2017)

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.