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Evolutionary physiology is the study of the biological evolution of physiological structures and processes; that is, the manner in which the functional characteristics of individuals in a population of organisms have responded to natural selection across multiple generations during the history of the population. It is a sub-discipline of both physiology and evolutionary biology. Practitioners in the field come from a variety of backgrounds, including physiology, evolutionary biology, ecology, and genetics.
Accordingly, the range of phenotypes studied by evolutionary physiologists is broad, including life history, behavior, whole-organism performance, functional morphology, biomechanics, anatomy, classical physiology, endocrinology, biochemistry, and molecular evolution. The field is closely related to comparative physiology and environmental physiology, and its findings are a major concern of evolutionary medicine. One definition that has been offered is "the study of the physiological basis of fitness, namely, correlated evolution (including constraints and trade-offs) of physiological form and function associated with the environment, diet, homeostasis, energy management, longevity, and mortality and life history characteristics".
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