Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Adaptations: Product of Evolution

  • Pierrick BourratEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_2106-1


Structure or behavior of an individual that is the long-term outcome of the process of natural selection.


The word adaptation has a vernacular and two technical senses. In a vernacular sense, an individual’s adaptation is simply the adjustment of this individual to new conditions. For instance, when the temperature at the place you are located increases sufficiently, you start sweating. Your temperature adjusts or adapts to this new temperature. This is an adaptation in the vernacular sense, which is different from what evolutionary biologists and psychologists are referring to when they use the word “adaptation,” although a link between the vernacular and the technical senses exists. An adaptation, for an evolutionary scientist, is both a structure (for instance, an organ) or a behavior which is the outcome of the process of natural selection, and the evolutionary process by which such a structure was produced. Thus, one technical meaning of the term...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Philosophy & Charles Perkins CentreThe University of SydneyCamperdownAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Karin Machluf
    • 1
  1. 1.Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA