natural selection

noun

Definition of natural selection

: a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment

Examples of natural selection in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Blaise Aguera y Arcas, a Google A.I. scientist, advocated techniques drawn from natural selection, including some based on the way bacteria evolve, to create new algorithms. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "The Emerging Disconnect Between Business and Academic Interests in A.I.," 17 Dec. 2019 In humans, Hawkes adds, researchers are still working out whether creatures that outlive their fertility simply evolve longer life spans, or whether natural selection causes them to experience menopause earlier. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Granny killer whales pass along wisdom—and extra fish—to their grandchildren," 9 Dec. 2019 New work suggests that these adaptations are the result of natural selection for particular genetic sequences in these populations. Diana Gitig, Ars Technica, "The genetic basis of Peruvians’ ability to live at high altitude," 15 Nov. 2019 In 1859, British naturalist Charles Darwin published ‘‘On the Origin of Species,’’ which explained his theory of evolution by means of natural selection. BostonGlobe.com, "In 1859, British naturalist Charles Darwin published ‘‘On the Origin of Species,’’ which explained his theory of evolution by means of natural selection.," 24 Nov. 2019 Some of it is natural selection within the regenerative structure of a college football program, with players not seeing snaps and seeking a different place to get playing time. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football mailbag: Are Mark Dantonio, his assistants approaching the hot seat?," 19 Oct. 2019 But the late-nineteenth-century American upper class largely delighted in the philosophy propounded by the Englishman Herbert Spencer: that the millionaire was not a conniving brute but a product of natural selection. Doug Henwood, Harper's magazine, "To Serve Is to Rule," 28 Oct. 2019 But the Aromangenesis team uses heat stress to recreate the tough, Darwinian conditions of natural selection. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Can Scientists Evolve the Next Great Beer?," 13 Oct. 2019 Climbing a ladder to perfection This misunderstanding is a holdover from before 1859, the year Charles Darwin first published his scientific theory of evolution via natural selection. Quentin Wheeler, Quartz, "That popular monkey-to-man chart gets evolution all wrong," 4 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'natural selection.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of natural selection

1842, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for natural selection

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The first known use of natural selection was in 1842

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Natural selection.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/natural%20selection. Accessed 18 January 2020.

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More Definitions for natural selection

natural selection

noun

English Language Learners Definition of natural selection

: the process by which plants and animals that can adapt to changes in their environment are able to survive and reproduce while those that cannot adapt do not survive

natural selection

noun

Medical Definition of natural selection

: a natural process that results in the survival and reproductive success of individuals or groups best adjusted to their environment and that leads to the perpetuation of genetic qualities best suited to that particular environment

More from Merriam-Webster on natural selection

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about natural selection

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