Also found in: Medical.
the historical development of organisms. Evolution is determined by hereditary variation, the struggle for existence, and natural and historical selection. It results in the adaptation of organisms to their environment, changes in the genetic composition of entire populations and individual species, the formation of species and the extinction of less adapted ones, and the transformation of ecosystems and of the biosphere as a whole. The term “evolution” was first used in biology by the Swiss naturalist and philosopher C. Bonnet (1762). The causes and regularities underlying evolution constitute the subject matter of the doctrine of evolution.