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adaptive radiation




The evolution of various divergent life-forms from a primitive and unspecialized ancestor. As the original population spreads out from its center of origin to exploit new habitats and food sources, new populations emerge, each adapted to its particular environment. Eventually, these become sufficiently distinct to be recognized as new species. Early placental mammals, for example, gave rise to modern burrowing, climbing, flying, running, and swimming forms.


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   • ORIGIN AND EVOLUTION OF LIFE