What is Animal Adaptation?

What is Animal Adaptation?

The ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “The only thing constant is change”. And this stays absolutely true. When it comes to the animal kingdom as they need to find ways to adapt to conditions that are gradually or suddenly different from pre-existing ones.

This means adapting to survive the climatic conditions of the ecosystem, predators and other animals that compete for the same food and resources. In other words it means the process of adjusting according to the environment and situation. But how do these animals adapt? There are 3 types of adaptation processes in the animal world, which is behavioral, structural and physiological.

Behavioral adaptation - Adaptation that affect how an organism acts or responses made by the animal that helps it to survive and reproduce are called behavioral adaptations. Example: Bears are very frisky. But every year, during the winter, some of the bear species tend to go into hibernation (deep sleep) depending on the snowfall, temperature and food supply. Similarly, many bird species and whales are prone to migrate to a warmer place during winter. Behavioral adaptation is very important for all animals to find way to raise the food they require, and manage with the particularly given climate.

Structural adaptation - In this process, an organism’s environment shapes its appearance meaning an organism develops a body feature that helps it survive and thrive. It may be in the way body works in circulating and respiration. Example: The gills that fishes have allows them to breathe inside the water. The desert foxes have large ears for heat radiation, the Artic foxes have small ears in comparison to desert foxes for retaining body heat. In structural adaptation, animals and bird develop physical parts through evolution that allows them to find and consume food, defend themselves, and reproduce their species.

Physiological adaptation - This process is an internal body mechanism of an animal provoked by external stimuli that helps them to survive and reproduce. Things like metabolism and body chemistry play a crucial role during this process. This phenomenon in found in animals like kangaroo, rats who have efficient kidneys, or the presence of compounds that prevent blood coagulation in mosquito saliva. In other words, physiological adaptation helps the animals to maintain body equilibrium or homeostasis which is a state of steady internal, physical and chemical conditions maintained by living systems.

Did you know, the Dorcas Gazelle never has to drink water or urinate? Though they will drink water when it’s available, this small species of North African antelope can get all of the water it needs from the food in its diet. Also, Addax Antelope changes color with the seasons. To cope with the unforgiving desert sun, the Addax sports a white coat in the summer, which reflects sunlight, but in winter the coat turns brownish gray to better absorb heat.

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