SPECIATION



One of the defining characteristics of a species is its reproductive isolation: the fact that among animals and plants that reproduce sexually, it is impossible for members of two different species to mate and produce fertile offspring. Speciation is the process whereby a single species develops over time into two distinct, reproductively isolated species. It is one of the key evolutionary processes and is responsible for the diversity of life that exists on Earth. In the following essay we explore not only the basic facts of speciation and biological diversity but also an example of adaptive radiation, in the form of the wide range of species within the mammalian order.

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