Difference Between Adaptation and Evolution (With Table)

Difference Between Adaptation and Evolution (With Table)

It is said that the only constant in this world is the change itself. Rest everything in the world keeps on changing. Thus, it becomes crucial for oneself to change according to the changing situations. Adaptation and evolution are the two phenomena that help us to change accordingly. While they seem quite similar, and one may even confuse them as synonyms, they are not.

Adaptation vs Evolution

The main difference between adaptation and evolution is that adaptation refers to short-term changes to cope with changing situations. On the other hand, evolution refers to long-term changes in an organism to cope with the changing environment. Thus, time is a key factor in differentiating between adaptation and evolution.

Difference Between Adaptation and Evolution

Adaptation is the change in the behavior of an organism for a short-term period. Such a change is necessitated by a change in that organism’s environment or habitat. Adaptation is a reversible change, implying that as the situations reverse to the original state, those changes in the organism will also cease to exist.

Evolution is a change in the organism’s genetic material for a long-term period. Changes of this type occur due to speciation or continued adaptation to a situation over generations. Evolution is an irreversible change that cannot be reversed to the original condition after a period.

Comparison Table Between Adaptation and Evolution

Parameters of ComparisonAdaptation Evolution
MeaningIt implies a change in the form or behavior of an organism to suit the altered environment.It implies a change in the innate features of successive generations of an organism.
TermIt is for a short period.It is for a long period.
CauseAdaptation occurs due to change in changing situations.Evolution occurs due to speciation.
ReversibilityIt is a reversible change.It is an irreversible change.
Level of changeAdaptational change occurs at the phenotypic level.Evolutional change occurs at the Genotypic level.

What is Adaptation?

Adaptation can be described as the emergence of certain new traits in an organism. A change in the surroundings of that organism induces it. Such changes in the organism help them adjust to their habitat changes.

These adaptational changes go through a process of selection, which helps to adapt the best changes. The selection of adaptational change is a natural process that helps the body choose the best-suited changes in the changing environment. It is like a person choosing a dress best suited for an occasion.

The adaptive traits brought out by such changes can be either physical or behavioral. Behavioral changes are those that are reflected in the behavior of the person, like their speaking, food habits, and mating patterns. The physical changes of adaptation can be seen in their growth and development, shape, size, and internal organization of body structures.

The camouflage of a chameleon is an example of adaptation. The color of this organism’s body changes with its surroundings. Such changes are not permanent and change back with changes in their surroundings. These changes help the chameleon to survive and be safe.

What is Evolution?

Evolution is the process of change in the genetic material of an organism through successive generations. This change in the genetic material leads to a change in the innate features of an organism, distinguishing the offspring from their ancestors. Charles Darwin put forward the theory of evolution. The theory states that human beings have evolved from microorganisms.

There can be two types of evolution based on changes in genetic material. When the changes in an organism’s genes are minor, it is referred to as microevolution. On the other hand, when the changes in an organism’s genes are major, it is called macroevolution. While microevolution leads to minor gene mutation, macroevolution leads to significant character changes in the organism.

Main Differences Between Adaptation and Evolution

  1. Adaptation refers to the change in the person’s form, structure, or behavior to suit and adapt to the changing situations or environments. On the other hand, evolution refers to the change in the innate or heritable features of successive generations of an organism.
  2. Based on time, it can be said that adaptation is a change for a short period, after which original conditions reverse. On the other hand, evolution is a long-term change that leaves no chance of original conditions being back.
  3. Adaptation is caused by changes in the situations or environment surrounding the person. On the contrary, evolution is due to speciation. Speciation is the process through which a new species comes into being through changes in the genes of the original organism.
  4. While adaptation is a reversible change, evolution is not considered so. This is because as adaptation is for a short period, the changes brought out by it will cease after a period. However, the genetic material of an organism cannot be altered, and such changes will remain for a long period.
  5. The level of change is also a good parameter for evaluating change. While adaptation results in the phenotypic level of change, evaluation leads to the genotypic level of change.


Adaptation and evolution both lead to changes. Both these are natural processes that occur over a period in all organisms. Changes in the habitat and environment of the organism prompt these natural processes.

Adaptation is a reversible change in the phenotypic level of organisms prompted by environmental changes. On the other hand, evolution is an irreversible change in the genotypic level of the organisms which occurs due to speciation.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23126342
  2. https://books.google.com/books/about/The_Theory_of_Evolution.html?id=aU3XUTt9WXgC#v=onepage&q&f=false
dot 1
One request?

I’ve put so much effort writing this blog post to provide value to you. It’ll be very helpful for me, if you consider sharing it on social media or with your friends/family. SHARING IS ♥️

Avatar of Nidhi


Hi! I'm Nidhi.

Here at the EHL, it's all about delicious, easy recipes for casual entertaining. So come and join me at the beach, relax and enjoy the food.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *