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Crab on beach
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Definition: An adaptation is a physical or behavioral characteristic that has developed to allow an organism to better survive in its environment. Adaptations are the result of evolution, and may occur when a gene mutates, or changes by accident. That mutation causes the organism to better survive and reproduce, and it passes on that trait to its offspring. It can take many generations to develop an adaptation.
One physical adaptation used in the intertidal zone is a crab's hard shell, which protects it from predators, drying out and being crushed by waves. A behavioral adaptation in the oceans is the use of loud, low-frequency calls by fin whales to communicate with other whales over great distances.
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