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

Indeed, evading our awareness is something cognitive biases are precision-engineered by natural selection to do. Robert Wright, WIRED, "Sam Harris and the Myth of Perfectly Rational Thought," 17 May 2018 Because the Star magnifies the effects of natural selection, the scientists labeled it an amplifier. John Rennie, WIRED, "This Mutation Math Shows How Life Keeps on Evolving," 1 July 2018 This might be natural selection working at lightning speed, an example of survival of the fittest frogs. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Some endangered frogs may be leaping back from extinction," 17 May 2018 His studies of artificial selection were a crucial part of his understanding of natural selection. Simon Barnes, WSJ, "‘Pasta for Nightingales’ Review: Birdwatching Tips From the Renaissance," 13 Apr. 2018 That left Armstead as the most natural selection to play the weak side. Andy Benoit, SI.com, "In San Francisco, the NFL’s Next Great Defensive Force Emerges," 22 June 2018 Nevertheless, Alma’s study of mosses enables her to arrive independently at a theory of natural selection like that of Darwin. WSJ, "Randall Fuller," 1 June 2018 She and her colleagues also found evidence for natural selection on a gene called BDKRB2. Carl Zimmer, New York Times, "Bodies Remodeled for a Life at Sea," 19 Apr. 2018 But not for Liu, who’s spent the last two decades harnessing the Darwinian ruthlessness of natural selection to create totally novel molecules. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "Inside a Chemist’s Quest to Hack Evolution and Cure Genetic Disease," 12 June 2018

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.

See More

First Known Use of natural selection

1842, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about natural selection

Share natural selection

Statistics for natural selection

Last Updated

6 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for natural selection

The first known use of natural selection was in 1842

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Comments on natural selection

What made you want to look up natural selection? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a nest or breeding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!