Coevolution

It is important to keep in mind that evolution is ongoing and that in a given environment, many species may be evolving at once. Each species is part of the forces of natural selection that act upon the other species. When two or more species have evolved adaptations to each other's influence, the situation is called coevolution.

Through coevolution, some species have evolved strategies to avoid being eaten, while the animals that eat them have evolved strategies to keep eating them. Many flowering plants have evolved such that specific insects carry pollen to other plants. Some microbes have evolved to live within certain animals, while these animals have adapted to either benefit from or avoid the microbes.

Humans are also involved in many cases of coevolution. For example, humans have developed and used antibiotics, such as penicillin, to kill disease-causing bacteria. But as antibiotic use has increased, many populations of bacteria have evolved adaptations to resist the effects of some antibiotics. This kind of adaptation is called resistance. Similarly, the evolution of resistance to pesticides is observed among populations of insects in agricultural settings.

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