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adaptive radiation

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noun Biology.
  1. the diversification of an ancestral group of organisms into a variety of related forms specialized to fit different environments or ways of life, each often further diversifying into more specialized types.

Origin of adaptive radiation

First recorded in 1900–05
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
British Dictionary definitions for adaptive radiation

adaptive radiation

noun
  1. evolution of a number of divergent species from a common ancestor, each species becoming adapted to occupy a different environment. This type of evolution occurred in the Tertiary manuals and the Mesozoic reptiles
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

adaptive radiation in Science

adaptive radiation

[ə-dăptĭv]
  1. The evolutionary diversification of a species or single ancestral lineage into various forms that are each adaptively specialized to a specific environmental niche. Adaptive radiation generally proceeds most rapidly in environments where there are numerous unoccupied niches or where competition for resources is minimal. See Note at adaptation.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.