: descent with modification from preexisting species : cumulative inherited change in a population of organisms through time leading to the appearance of new forms : the process by which new species or populations of living things develop from preexisting forms through successive generations
: the scientific theory explaining the appearance of new species and varieties through the action of various biological mechanisms (such as natural selection, genetic mutation or drift, and hybridization)
- Evolution is a process of continuous branching and diversification from common trunks. This pattern of irreversible separation gives life's history its basic directionality.
- —Stephen Jay Gould
- Since 1950, developments in molecular biology have had a growing influence on the theory of evolution.
- In Darwinian evolution, the basic mechanism is genetic mutation, followed by selection of the organisms most likely to survive.
- —Pamela Weintraub
: the historical development of a biological group (such as a race or species) : phylogeny
: a process of change in a certain direction : unfolding
: the action or an instance of forming and giving something off : emission
: a process of continuous change from a lower, simpler, or worse to a higher, more complex, or better state : growth
: a process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political, and economic advance
: the process of working out or developing
: the extraction of a mathematical root
: a process in which the whole universe is a progression of interrelated phenomena
: one of a set of prescribed movements
noun or adjective