Adaptive Zone

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Adaptive Zone


the complex of environmental conditions determining the type of adaptations of a given group of organisms. The term was originated by the English biologist G. G. Simpson in 1944. Adaptive zones are divided into subzones corresponding to the more particular specific conditions of existence. The entire organic world may be regarded as a system of broad or narrow adaptive zones which are limited by the ties which their inhabiting organisms have with environmental conditions and are similar in basic characteristics for ecologically close forms (“dog zone,” “cat zone,” “fern zone,” and so on). Adaptive zones may be occupied by systematically remote species—marsupial wolves, for example, belong to the adaptive zone of the dog; the liana zone includes hops, the grape, the kidney bean, and the honeysuckle; and so forth. Adaptive zones change constantly as a result of variation in physical and geographic conditions and the evolution of organisms living in a given zone. A saber-toothed tiger sub-zone, for example, probably never existed until the evolution of herbivorous animals made specialization of the tiger critical for survival; the extinction of the large herbivores brought with it the elimination of this adaptive subzone.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Criterion 3: Adaptive Zone. - Explanations of key innovations typically invoke shifts in adaptive zone (e.g., Simpson 1944; Futuyma 1986).
That is, there is not a functional advantage associated with a character versus there is a functional advantage for a particular character state, and if adaptive, the feature in question at some point was favored by selection and resulted in a shift in or expansion of adaptive zone. Our approach is similar to that of Lauder and Liem (1989), as it focuses on homologous characters and their states.
Simpson recognized as due to the occupation of new "adaptive zones."

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