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Difference Between Adaptation and Evolution

Difference Between Adaptation and Evolution

Our earth has been here for millions of years now. Time and time again, major changes have been happening to the surface of the earth that no one has ever witnessed. This is because major changes in the condition of our earth do not occur in just one lifetime, but rather, involves thousands of years. However, we can verify all of these only through rigorous archaeological studies and a complete understanding of past records. Furthermore, even as our earth continues to change, so do the living things that occupy it. They too continue to evolve and adapt to these changes.

Human beings are the prime example of living beings that have evolved through the centuries and still continue to adapt. We are a race that has strived to survive even in harsh conditions, using our intelligence and skills to make sure that we make it through the day. It can be seen with our forefathers and ancestors. Records have shown the differences in physical structure of what men were centuries ago with that of a modern man. It has given us the glimpse of what our ancestors were, how they looked like, and what they did to survive.

As seen in archaeological records, the bone structures indicated that there are changes as time passed by. It also indicates that our ancestors were larger and stockier, thus, able to function in the harsh environment that they had at that time. Furthermore, they continued to provide us a look into the past with how they lived in relation to what they faced, through ancient records and personal belongings left. This is a pure example of evolution and adaptation. But what do they indicate and how are evolution and adaptation different from each other?

Adaptation refers to the process wherein certain groups or individuals change their ways in order to be better suited to their environment and habitat. This is change is needed so that they can survive and maintain normal functioning in their community. For example, during winters or cold days, individuals learn to alter their homes and personal clothes to be able to live through the chilling temperatures.

Evolution, though, takes a long time. It is a process in which the genetic structure and physical anatomy change in relation to the changes happening in the environment. It does not occur overnight, but invokes generations in order to turn out into the best being suitable. Human beings are indeed an example, as evidenced from our ancestors the Homo erectus, to Homo sapiens, or basically, us. We are the proof of evolution.

In closing, remember this. Individuals can adapt, but it takes a whole population to evolve. You can read further since only basic details are provided.


1. All living things change through time in order to survive in their environment.

2. Adaptation involves short-term changes to suit the habitat and environment.

3. Evolution is a long-term process wherein changes occur in the genetic level for a better functioning and survival as a race.

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  1. The ability to adapt is built into our genetic structure. The ability to evolve isn’t.

    Your summation of evolution in point 3 is wrong. It isn’t a process with a goal. Theoretically evolution is a series of random mutations accumulating over time resulting in a more advanced life form. It is random, and without purpose. Natural selection, and chance are the only driving factors.

    In evolution, changes don’t just occur. Changes happen by accident, essentially DNA makes a mistake, that happens to be beneficial to a life’s survival. This trait is then passed on through the generations. Accumulated mistakes lead to a more adapted life form.

    Adaption is life’s coded response to change. Adaption is life’s way of ensuring it’s continued existence.

    • Brilliant! Words and their meaning matter when discussing the controversial issue. Note “natural selection” “mistake” by “chance” . Left to “luck” as a science researcher puts it, the sophistication we see in even the most basic organisms would never occur. And we are talking of Purposeful designs occurring by luck or chance? No way!

  2. I’m not understanding… If evolution is gradual, why is there no evidence of what’s in between? It seems to jump, from what I’ve been taught/what I’ve looked up. As if one day a female Homo erectus popped out a Homo sapien baby, and voila! evolution! Is there actual evidence for these “in-betweens” or do I have a valid point?

  3. This guy is a complete idiot. Evolution has never been proven, it is only a theory. (A weak theory at best) Please please show me just one fossilization of a missing link, just one. You can’t and will not do it because it is impossible. There are none. Out of the hundreds of thousands and I do mean hundreds of thousands of different species that have been found fossilized. None of them are missing links. They are all their own unique creatures or plant life. END OF STORY

    • I’m assuming you believe God created everything, if I’m wrong I apologize for making assumptions, so here is a popular theory: God created everything and changed them over time like with man he simply took an ape and over millions of years changed its appearance and intellect until he had man. Now your argument is that nobody has proof of evolution I want to see proof of God at times but never really have, I’m still a devout Christian I just have yet to see proof.

    • Hi Kevin, the “just a theory” statement is one of the absolute biggest misconceptions of science students in our time. Unfortunately, we have come to utilize the word “theory” in our everyday language in a context that is not the same as it is in the scientific community.
      In my personal life, I can say that I have a theory that it will rain today. This might be ok to say but it is technically an incorrect use of the word theory.
      In the scientific community, a theory is a single or group of hypotheses that have been created to explain something that is observed. Once the hypotheses are created, they are tested strenuously and repeatedly. In science it is easier to disprove something than to prove it so it is really easy to show that an incorrect hypothesis is not true. However, up until this point I have only said hypothesis, these explanations that are being tested and disproved are still only called a hypothesis (or hypotheses). If the hypothesis is put through rigorous testing by some of the most excellent professionals of that field, then it MAY become a theory. Typically it takes decades for something to be accepted as a theory and that is only after all of the best scientists (accredited, peer-reviewed, and within the field) have had the chance to tear it to shreds.
      Here’s a post from the New York Times who (political associations aside) is a newspaper well known for fact checking and has an article on something being “just a theory”. Hope this helps: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/09/science/in-science-its-never-just-a-theory.html?_r=0

  4. Darwin defined evolution as common descent, i.e. a much longer longer term than just survival of a race.

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