Q:

What is the smallest unit of life that can evolve?

A:

Quick Answer

A population is the smallest unit of life that can evolve. This is because evolution is a process that takes place over extended periods of time through adaptations that are passed through the reproduction of individuals who contribute to the population.

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Full Answer

Scientists do not believe that individuals evolve in their single lifetime, making it so that an individual or any of the parts that comprise it, such as a tissues or cells, are not capable of evolution. Individuals contribute to evolution through their transmission of DNA that may carry adaptations to their offspring.

As the majority of individuals in a population change in a synchronized way, evolution begins to occur. Populations then contribute to the evolution of their larger communities, followed by ecosystems and finally, the biosphere.

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