Exaptation  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Exaptation (a replacement for the teleologically-loaded term "pre-adaptation" and the related term co-option describe a shift in the function of a trait during evolution. For example, a trait can evolve because it served one particular function, but subsequently it may come to serve another. Exaptations are common in both anatomy and behaviour. Bird feathers are a classic example: initially they may have evolved for temperature regulation, but later were adapted for flight. Interest in exaptation relates to both the process and products of evolution: the process that creates complex traits and the products (functions, anatomical structures, biochemicals, etc.) that may be imperfectly developed.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Exaptation" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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