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Different life forms appear fit for their environment; and often have traits such as color that work as camouflage to help them blend in to their surroundings; or certain defensive capabilities.

What is the origin or source of such traits and capabilities?

Examples given in textbooks or on science websites of adaptation:

This katydid from Costa Rica is given as an example of a life form adapting to be able to mimic the leaves it rests on to evade predators.

Echolocation in bats is given as an adaptation for catching insects.

On Dictionaryreference.com it defines "echolocation" as: "the sonar-like system used by dolphins, bats, and other animals to detect and locate objects by emitting usually high-pitched sounds that reflect off the object and return to the animal's ears or other sensory receptors."

Here is another example given for an adaptation: "The creosote bush is a desert-dwelling plant that produces toxins that prevent other plants from growing nearby, thus reducing competition for nutrients and water."

Another example given for adaptation, it is theorized that before snakes slithered, they had limbs similar to those of lizards.  To better adapt to their environment of small holes in the ground, they lost their legs.  This allowed them to fit into a tighter space, in which they could hide from predators.

It is stated that mice have very large ears because they are nocturnal creatures, and since they do not have night vision they have adapted incredible hearing capabilities.

Here is another example: "One of the textbook examples of evolutionary biology is the long-necked giraffe. The evolution of the giraffe's long neck occurred so that the animal could reach leaves in taller trees. But it's even more complex than that, because the more adaptive aspect of the neck evolution occurred as a result of the giraffe's long legs. Since giraffes do not bend their knees to drink from a pool of water, they require a long neck that can reach all the way down to the water. The neck of the giraffe is used for many purposes, including spars between males."

http://www.ehow.com/list_6131133_examples-evolutionary-adaptation.html

Here is another  example given for adaptation: "Polar bears evolved white fur because it better conceals them in the arctic."

Hypothesis # 1

An animal or plant species becomes better fitted to its environment as the result of natural selection's acting upon heritable variation. 


Hypothesis # 2

Life forms are fitted to their environment because they were brought into this world with those traits and functions already built into them, for a purpose.


If hypothesis # 1 is correct, many life forms should be able to be observed in different stages of this transition process.

If hypothesis # 2 is correct, no examples of this process in progress should be able to be observed.

The scientific evidence should falsify one of these two hypotheses.

Are there misconceptions regarding biological adaptations?  Here are some that others have noted.

Natural selection involves organisms "trying" to adapt.

Berkeley Education website statement: 

"Natural selection involves genetic variation and selection among variants present in a population.  ...Genetic variation is generated by random mutation - a process that is unaffected by what organisms in the population want or what they are 'trying' to do.  Either an individual has genes that are good enough to survive and reproduce, or it does not, but it can't get the right genes by 'trying.' "

Natural selection gives organisms what they need.

Natural selection has no intentions or senses; it cannot sense what a species or an individual "needs." Natural selection acts on the genetic variation in a population, and this genetic variation is generated by random mutation - a process that is unaffected by what organisms in the population need.

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/misconceps/IDtrying.shtml


Here are some facts about giraffes you may not have been aware of.

How did they survive until they formed those valves in their necks through a long series of random, chance, accidental mutations that just happened to be beneficial?  Does that sound like good logic? 


Did that happen through a series of random, chance, accidental mutations that just happened to be beneficial?  To test this hypothesis, a good question might be: "Which evolved first: the long neck, the shut-off valves, or the special ability to pump blood all the way to the brain?"

Much of the clip art on this site is courtesy of Phillip Martin.

http://www.phillipmartin.com/

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