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Apr 14, 2016
This week’s theme
Coined words

This week’s words
snowclone
ecdysiast
petrichor
exaptation
blet

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

exaptation

PRONUNCIATION:
(ek-sap-TAY-shuhn)

MEANING:
noun: The adaptation of a trait for a purpose other than for which it was evolved.
For example, feathers were evolved for warmth and later co-opted for display and/or flight.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined by Stephen Jay Gould in 1981. A blend of ex- (out) + adaptation, from ad- (towards) + aptare (to fit), from aptus (apt).

USAGE:
“The gradual development of propulsion devices like wings and flagella, by contrast, can be explained by exaptation, the process by which ‘a feature that originally evolved for one purpose is co-opted for a different purpose’. Both feathers and flightless wings might have developed originally for the purpose of thermoregulation rather than flight.”
Kenneth Krause; Design, Doubts, and Darwin; Skeptical Inquirer (Amherst, New York); Nov 2006.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. -Arnold J. Toynbee, historian (14 Apr 1889-1975)

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