The adaptations are some striking aspects of living beings, which allow them to survive in a certain place and multiply. For instance: the anteater’s tail, which serves as a coat.
Charles Darwin, the foremost theorist on evolution, rightly viewed adaptation as the most important problem facing any theory that set out to recognize the evolutionary history of species.
For the theory of natural selection, contributed by the same scientist, adaptation occurs spontaneously through the supremacy of the fittest.
Supremacy of the Fittest
The changes in living things, which are more easily noticed in the case of animals, are the result of the pressure exerted by the environment on the individual, whether at a behavioral, physical or physiological level.
The environment It is understood as an entity that encompasses both the climate, the vegetation, other animals, the relief and all the factors that influence daily life: when any of them changes, those that cannot adapt die and only the ones survive. more prepared, that reproduce giving rise to new better prepared creatures.
Anyway, the variation theoryRandom selection and differentiation is not limited to natural selection. On the contrary, many other explanations complement the question of adaptation, among which is simply chance, chance and even artificial selection by man.
Adaptations can be thought of as very complex machines, where million small changes they do their part to produce an evolution. These changes must be oriented in one direction if they are to produce a fortuitous evolution, and this is not always the case: the cases of mutations are the best counterexample.
Examples of adaptation in living beings
- The digestive system of crocodiles, adapted to ingest a wide variety of prey.
- The movement of the fish is favored by the undulating movements of its body.
- The nictitating membranes of crocodiles, to protect the eyes from water.
- Increased horse size, to deal with prairie predators.
- The great development of muscles for chewing, in the case of wolves.
- The anteater’s tail, which serves as a coat.
- Aquatic vertebrates that have fins, membranes that are used for swimming.
- Mollusks, which have a long muscular foot that allows them to fixate on the sand to move.
- The adaptation of the horse to group life, to protect itself in the prairie habitat.
- The jaws of birds, which are elongated like toothless beaks.
- The hunting technique of sea snakes, biting their prey and holding them until the venom takes effect.
- The teeth of omnivores, prepared to grind vegetables and also to tear meat.
- Aquatic vegetables, which produce modifications in their body shape to adapt to the conditions of food and light. In offshore areas, algae must develop structures that allow them to float.
- The fleece layer that covers the camel’s body, preventing the direct arrival of the sun’s rays to the camel’s epidermis.
- The fingers of primates, opposable to pick up tree branches.
- One mammalian survival technique for winter is lowering body temperature.
- The anteater, which catches prey with a worm-shaped tongue impregnated with sticky saliva.
- The tail of sea snakes, compressed laterally for locomotion, like a paddle.
- The speed of herbivores, as a defense mechanism due to its prey condition for carnivores.
- Herbivorous mammals, which have larger incisors than carnivores to cut grass.
Types of adaptation
Accommodations can be classified into three groups:
- Physical adaptation. It is one in which the animal changes its physiognomy to better adapt to the environment, or to make better use of a resource in the habitat where it lives. In many cases, the result of adaptations of this type made many modern organisms possess useless structures or physiological mechanisms.
- Physiological adaptations. They are those that have to do with the metabolism of the animal, and the internal functioning of the different organs. The organism must produce a change in its functioning to solve some problem in the environment: hibernation and estivation are good examples of this.
- Behavioral adaptations. They are those that are developed to facilitate the survival of individuals. One of the typical cases of adaptation in behavior is that of migration, as well as that of courtship: the need of the animals produces the adoption of a behavior that until then was strange to them.