exaptation

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

exaptation A characteristic that opens up a previously unavailable niche to its possessor. The characteristic may have originated as an adaptation to some other niche (e.g. it is proposed that feathers were an adaptation to thermoregulation, but opened up the possibility of flight to their possessors), or as a neutral mutation.

views updated

exaptation A morphological or physiological character that predisposes an organism to adapt to a changed environment or lifestyle. For example, a hearing mechanism sensitive to low-frequency sound evolved in crickets, perhaps 250 million years ago, to aid intraspecific communication. When bats evolved, only about 50 million years ago, the cricket hearing mechanism served as a preadaptation, being modified to perceive the high-frequency sonar emitted by these night-flying predators, in addition to the low-frequency sounds of crickets.

views updated

exaptation A characteristic that opens up a previously unavailable niche to its possessor. The characteristic may have originated as an adaptation to some other niche (e.g. it is proposed that feathers were an adaptation to thermoregulation, but opened up the possibility of flight to their possessors), or as a neutral mutation.

views updated

exaptation A characteristic that opens up a previously unavailable niche to its possessor. The characteristic may have originated as an adaptation to some other niche (e.g. it is proposed that feathers were an adaptation to thermoregulation, but opened up the possibility of flight to their possessors), or as a neutral mutation.

views updated

Exaptation

See Gould, Stephen J.; adaptation