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Operant Conditioning

The evolution of inherited characteristics allows the species to adapt to changes in its environ­ ment over many generations: phylogenetic ad­ aptation. The learning of new behavior or new stimulus-response relations allows the indi­ vidual organism to adapt to changes in the en­ vironment over its lifetime: ontogenetic adapta­ tion (see Seay Sc Goddfried, 1978). In the case of phylogenetic adaptation, the environment causes some genetic variants among organisms (mutations) to survive and reproduce and oth­ ers to die before the organism has reproduced. This results in the phylogenetic evolution of the species through Darwin’s natural selection.