Evolution Terminology

  1. Abiogenesis--the hypothetical process where life spontaneously formed from organic material that had arisen from inorganic material.
  2. Allele--alternative forms of genes that can have the same place on homologous chromosomes and are responsible for alternative traits.
  3. Astrobiology--the branch of biology that investigates the existence of living organisms on other planets; similar to Exobiology.
  4. Australopithecine--supposed human ancestor.
  5. Cambrian--from 500 million to 600 million years ago; marine invertebrates.
  6. Chromosome--a threadlike structure in cells that carries genes.
  7. Cladistics--a system of biological taxonomy based on the quantitative analysis of comparative data which is used to reconstruct trees summarizing the (assumed) phylogenetic relations and evolutionary history of groups of organisms.
  8. Craniate--animals having a bony or cartilaginous skeleton with a segmented spinal column and a large brain enclosed in a skull or cranium.
  9. DNA--a nucleic acid consisting of large molecules shaped like a double helix; it is the genetic information and is associated with the transmission of that genetic information.
  10. Evolution--the theory regarding the sequence of events involved in the evolutionary development of a species or taxonomic group of organisms.
  11. Exobiology--a branch of biology that examines the possibility of life existing elsewhere in the universe; similar to Astrobiology.
  12. Extinct--a species of life that is no longer living.
  13. Fossil--a relic or impression of a plant or animal that existed in a past geological age.
  14. Gene--a self-replicating protein molecule that resides in a chromosome and is part of the DNA construction.
  15. Genetic--dealing with genes; a gene is a unit within a chromosome that transmits hereditary characteristics.
  16. Genetic Drift--the change in frequency in which a gene appears in a population, through mutation, regardless of the adaptive value of the mutation.
  17. Hominid--any family of two-legged primates, including man.
  18. Hominoid--a sub-category of primates that includes Humans (Hominids) as well as the great apes (Pongids) and the lesser apes (Hylobates).
  19. Hypothesis--a tentative explanation for an observation or phenomena that can be tested through experimentation.
  20. Invertebrate--having no backbone or spinal column.
  21. Macroevolution--large-scale change in organisms resulting in new species, genera, families, etc.
  22. Mammal--a warm-blooded, air-breathing vertebrate organism that gives birth to live young that suckle on the milk of their mothers.
  23. Microevolution--small-scale genetic changes in organisms through mutations resulting in slight changes in an organism.
  24. Morphology--the branch of biology that deals with the structure of animals and plants.  
  25. Mutation--an organism exhibiting the result of chromosomal alteration.
  26. Natural selection--the process by which organisms with helpful adaptive qualities are permitted by nature to transmit their genetic information to offspring; it is also the process by which an organism with harmful qualities is removed from the environment.
  27. Phylogeny--the sequence of events involved in the evolutionary development of a species or taxonomic group of organisms.
  28. Precambrian--the time before 600 million years ago.
  29. Primate--any order of animals including man, apes, monkeys, lemurs, etc., characterized by flexible hands and feet.  
  30. Punctuated Equilibrium--the theory that evolution occurs in huge and sudden jumps.
  31. Science--systemized knowledge derived through experimentation, observation, and study; also, the methodology used to acquire this knowledge.
  32. Singularities--a unique or peculiar feature or thing.
  33. Species--taxonomic group whose members can interbreed.
  34. Taxonomy-- a classification of organisms into groups based on similarities of structure or origin, etc.
  35. Tetrapod--any vertebrate having four legs or limbs.
  36. Theory--a statement or set of statements used to explain a phenomenon.  A theory is generally accepted as valid due to having survived repeated testing.
  37. Vertebrate--having a backbone or spinal column.
  38. Zoology--the branch of science that deals with animal structures, growth, and classification.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.