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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.
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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
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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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.