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 But, as is often the case, natural selection knocks humanity’s best efforts into a cocked hat. The Economist, "DNA could be used to embed useful information into everyday objects," 12 Dec. 2019 And that’s when natural selection kicks in and the tree of life starts adding shoots and branches. National Geographic, "Episode 2: The Alien Underground," 22 Oct. 2019 All creatures on the planet want to survive, and natural selection is essentially forcing or promoting their ability to do that. Emily Toomey, Smithsonian, "How Mosquitos Helped Shape the Course of Human History," 5 Aug. 2019 This natural selection ensured that different finch species, with various beaks, evolved on each island. Robert Gatenby, Scientific American, "Darwin’s Ideas on Evolution Drive a Radical New Approach to Cancer Drug Use," 3 Aug. 2019 All of this activity stirs the pot of mutation and variation that is the raw material for natural selection. James Gorman, New York Times, "A Virus in Koala DNA Shows Evolution in Action," 10 Oct. 2019 Some of these teachers might even introduce evolutionary ideas such as natural selection and microevolution. Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, "Why Some Public-School Kids Don’t Learn About Evolution," 19 Sep. 2019 By the principle of Darwinian natural selection, these mutant cells will keep multiplying, outcompeting the other cells. San Diego Union-Tribune, "From rock/paper/scissors to new cancer-fighting concept from UCSD scientists," 6 Sep. 2019 For natural selection to occur, explained Charmantier, some individuals with a particular ability—like starting breeding earlier—need to be favored. National Geographic, "Some animals can adapt to climate change—just not fast enough," 19 Aug. 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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Statistics for natural selection

Last Updated

15 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Natural selection.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/natural%20selection. Accessed 26 Feb. 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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