Dictionary > Atavism

Atavism

Definition
noun, plural: atavisms
(1) A reversion, or an individual reverting, to an earlier type; an evolutionary throwback.
(2) A reappearance of an ancestral characteristic in an organism after several generations of absence.
Supplement
Atavisms occur due to chance recombination of genes. Genes coding for such traits are preserved in DNA although the genes may not be expressed in some organisms.
Word origin: Latin atavus, a great-grandfather’s grandfather and, thus, more generally, an ancestor.

Related forms: atavist (noun), atavistic (adjective).
See also: pangenesis.


You will also like...

An artistic depiction of a human embryo
Growth and Development of a Human Baby

Upon fertilization, a zygote forms and develops into an embryo. This tutorial elaborates on the growth and development f..

Genetics and Evolution
Genetics and Evolution

Humans are diploid creatures. This means that for every chromosome in the body, there is another one to match it. Howeve..

Still Water Community Plants
Still Water Community Plants

This tutorial looks at the adaptations of freshwater plants for them to thrive in still water habitats. Familiarize your..

Gene Pool and Speciation
The Gene Pool and Population Genetics

According to Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection, preferable genes are favored by nature in the gene pool, and ..

Human perception in action
Human Perception – Neurology

This tutorial investigates perception as two people can interpret the same thing differently. Know more about human perc..

Photosynthesis and respiration
Plant Metabolism

Plants are responsible for incredible feats of molecular transformation. Plant processes, such as photosynthesis, photop..