Difference Between Adaptation and Evolution (With Table)

Adaptation is the process where a specie or organism fits its environment. In other words, it’s an extent to which can occupy and reproduce in certain habitats. Adaptation is important to all living organisms for their survival. Because of this, organisms that cannot adapt to changes in the environment are wiped out.

There are a variety of ways that organisms adapt to their environment. Some of these include; their dispersal, genetics, their structure, and other respects.

Evolution is the change in the transmissible character of the biological population over a solid generation. The entire process relies on natural selection. Evolution is established on the ideas that all species are connected and they change with time.

Adaptation vs Evolution

The difference between adaptation and evolution is that adaptation is the process of adjusting something to occupy and match the environment. Evolution is a general term that points out changes in anything over time.


Comparison Table Between Adaptation and Evolution (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonAdaptationEvolution
Results inAdaptation results in phenotypic variation among speciesEvolution results in new species
Reversible or irreversibleAdaptation is a reversible changeEvolution is an irreversible change which occurs from generation to the other
Change in timeIt is a short-term changeIt is a long-term change
Condition of occurrenceAdaptation occurs under the effect of environmental conditionsAdaptation occurs as a result of speciation
Level of changeAdaptation is a change in the phenotypic levelEvolution is a change in the genotypic level
DefinitionAdaptation is a structure or form improved to fit a changing environmentEvolution is a change in the heritable characteristics of the biological population over a successive generation


What is Adaptation?

Adaptation is the physical or behavioral characteristics of an organism that helps it to live in the surrounding environment.

Adaptation means being able to endure all climatic conditions of the ecosystem including other species and predators. These predators and species compete for the same food and space as the organisms.

Adaptation has several benefits which include increased agricultural production and high household income.

A good example of adaptation is how some plants have adapted to life in the desert. This is an example of structural behavior because deserts are hot places. An example of behavioral adaption is that of animal migration. Adaptation helps species to survive and reproduces in an ecosystem. In the end, this leads to evolution.


What is Evolution?

Evolution is the change of a character in a species from one generation to the other. This process relies on natural selection. This subject is defined based on evolution theory that all species are connected but change with time.

Evolution helps in a steady improvement in efficiency if the environment is steady. When the environment is conducive, the most effective individual have the most offspring.

Evolution is unpredictable and takes many years to get there. In other words, it is slow. It also creates wasteful systems and processes.

No doubt, evolution is a powerful process that leads to rapid changes in the characteristic of an organism. Its limits, however, come from lack of genetic variation, trait interaction, and difficulty in evolution.

Main Differences Between Adaptation and Evolution

  • Occurrence – Adaptation occurs when a gene change from in form or nature by accident. Some of the reconstruction can help a plant or animal live better than others in an ecosystem in the species without the mutation. Evolution occurs when transmissible contrast becomes more common or rare in a population. The differences can e either through random genetic drift or non-random natural selection.
  • Definition – Adaptation is the structural or functional change of an organism. The change can also affect parts of the species as a result of natural occurrences. As such organisms become better shaped to survive and multiply in an environment. Evolution is the growth and development process of an organism.
  • Importance – Adaptation helps in survival and move on with life. Organisms and plants can survive different situations in the ecosystem due to adaptation. Evolution is essential in solving problems that affect lives. For instance, researchers must know the evolutionary pattern of the disease-causing organism for them to stay ahead of pathogenic diseases.
  • Factors affecting each – With adaptation many organisms have passed through slow stages and they have survived unfavorable conditions. Biotic environments like hunting efficiency are directed and reduce adaptation levels. Evolution is affected by the mutation, flow of gene, drift in genetic, and natural selection.
  • Results in – The dynamic is fast compared to that of evolution. Species and organisms change over time to survive in their environment. As such, Adaptation results in phenotypic variation among species. Evolution takes millions of years meaning the dynamic is low because it occurs across different generations. As a result, evolution results in new species.



Adaptations are physical or behavioral characters that make an organism survive in an environment. The transmissible variations occur as a result of random mutations.

Adaptation occurs due to mutation or natural selection. The mutation is the rapid genetic change that could be random or accidental.

Evolution also takes place when inheritable characteristics become regular or unusual in species. These heritable differences are either non-random through natural selection or random through genetic drift.

Environmental conditions cause rapid evolution because they cause strong selective pressure. They affect a variety of essential ecological and life-history characters like specie interaction and community structure. This prompts the species to evolve fast causing genetic and phenotypic shifts in generations.