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Definition of INDUSTRIAL MELANISM
: genetically determined melanism as a population phenomenon especially in moths in which the proportion of dark individuals tends to increase due to differential predation especially by birds which more easily find and eat lighter-colored individuals in habitats darkened by industrial pollution
First Known Use of INDUSTRIAL MELANISM
Darkness of the skin, feathers, or fur developed by a population of animals living in an industrial region where the environment is soot-darkened. The melanization of a population increases the probability that its members will survive and reproduce because it offers protection in the form of camouflage; it takes place over the course of many generations as the result of natural selection of the lighter, more conspicuous animals by predators.