A few different conditions have to be present in order for animals to evolve. First there has to be genetic variation–meaning inheritable variation in a physical trait, most any trait you can think of. Then there has to be a selective pressure that favors one specific trait in a species over the other variants. When this condition exists it means that individuals with a certain trait survive to reproductive age (when they are able to pass on their genes) better than other individuals of this species without that trait. So, over time, individuals with the trait that is favored for survival incresase in population and those that do not have the trait decrease in population. Over millions of years of this process, animals evolve. And when a population of animals is isolated–lets just say they found their way to an island–and new conditions exist that require a different set of adaptations than where the main sect of the species population lives, this process of evolution can lead to speciation– or the evolution of a new species.
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