Section 1, Lecture 1

Introduction to Adaptations

Monkeys in a hot spring

We all know that we can’t move a polar bear into a tropical rainforest habitat. But why not? It’s because this animal is not adapted to live in a tropical rainforest and would die if moved there. But why?

Animal adaptations are tools that animals have that allow them to survive in a particular habitat. These tools are something an animal is born with, something its species developed over millions of years of evolution. Polar bears have thick waterproof fur that keeps them warm in the cold Arctic weather even as they swim in frigid waters, from iceberg to iceberg. They are carnivores—they eat meat. It would be very difficult for a herbivore to exist on the floating ice sheets—grass doesn’t grow on ice. Polar bear’s fur looks white­­—they can easily hide among the snow and ice. And polar bears are very good swimmers. They have to be—it’s the only way to move from one ice sheet to the next in the open sea.

Adaptations Introduction