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amphibians: The class of vertebrates that contains the frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders.
The amphibians evolved in the Devonian period (about 370 million years ago) as the first vertebrates to occupy the land.
adaptation: Any heritable characteristic of an organism that improves its ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.
The term can also be applied to larger groups of organisms, as in "the adaptive radiation of mammals." adaptive strategies: A mode of coping with competition or environmental conditions on an evolutionary time scale.
Species adapt when succeeding generations emphasize beneficial characteristics.
ammonoid: Extinct relatives of cephalopods (squid, octopi, and chambered nautiluses), these mollusks had coiled shells and are found in the fossil record of the Cretaceous period.
amniotes: The group of reptiles, birds, and mammals.