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

Hundreds of thousands of years is plenty of time for Darwinian natural selection to have changed Lystrosaurus. John Hawks, WSJ, "‘Lamarck’s Revenge’ Review: Inheriting the Wrong Ideas," 16 Aug. 2018 The problem was that biologists had only loose ideas about how specific population structures might affect natural selection. John Rennie, WIRED, "This Mutation Math Shows How Life Keeps on Evolving," 1 July 2018 For Charles Darwin, birds offered a window into the process of natural selection—and ultimately, evolution. Kat Eschner, Smithsonian, "What We Can Learn From a New Bird Tree of Life," 21 Apr. 2018 New tools from the field of synthetic biology could endow scientists with the frightening ability to design and manufacture maximally dangerous pathogens, leapfrogging natural selection. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 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

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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Last Updated

1 Mar 2019

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The first known use of natural selection was in 1842

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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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