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adaptive radiation

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
1900-1905
1900-05
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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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
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adaptive radiation in Science
adaptive radiation
  (ə-dāp'tĭv)   
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 © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for adaptive radiation

evolution of an animal or plant group into a wide variety of types adapted to specialized modes of life. A striking example is the radiation, beginning in the Tertiary period (beginning 66.4 million years ago), of basal mammalian stock into forms adapted to running, leaping, climbing, swimming, and flying.

Learn more about adaptive radiation with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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