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adaptive radiationradiation adaptatif (fr.); adaptive Radiation (ger.)

  • The evolutionary diversification of an animal or plant lineage into a number of forms adapted to different habitats or ecological niches (OED 2012)
    The starting point of each adaptive radiation has been a small, unspecialized land mammal
    Anonymus (1898). [Report on the work of Professor Osborn]. The Times, 26 Aug., 8/2 (acc. to OED).
    differentiation of habit in several directions from a primitive type
    Osborn, H.F. (1902). The law of adaptive radiation. Amer. Nat. 36, 353-363: 353.


    adaptive radiation The evolutionary diversification of a taxon (adaptive type) into a number of different ecological roles or modes of life (adaptive zones), usually over a relatively short period of time and leading to the appearance of a variety of new forms.    

    Lincoln, R.J., Boxshall, G.A. & Clark, P.F. (1982). A Dictionary of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics: 4.