punctuated equilibrium

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Related to Punctuated equilibrium model: punctuated evolution

punc·tu·at·ed equilibrium

(pŭngk′cho͞o-ā′tĭd)
n.
1. The theory that the evolution of life on earth typically follows a pattern in which long periods of little morphological change are punctuated by relatively short periods of significant change, when speciation occurs.
2. Evolutionary development of this kind.

punc′tuated equilib′rium


n.
a theory that the evolution of species proceeds with long periods of relative stability interspersed with rapid change. Compare gradualism (def. 2).
[1972]

punc·tu·at·ed equilibrium

(pŭngk′cho͞o-ā′tĭd)
The theory that new species evolve suddenly over relatively short periods of time, followed by longer periods in which little genetic change occurs. Punctuated equilibrium is a revision of Darwin's theory that evolution takes place at a slow, constant rate over millions of years. Compare gradualism. See Note at evolution.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.punctuated equilibrium - a theory of evolution holding that evolutionary change in the fossil record came in fits and starts rather than in a steady process of slow change
evolutionism, theory of evolution, theory of organic evolution - (biology) a scientific theory of the origin of species of plants and animals
References in periodicals archive ?
Hawkes then claims that Niles Eldredge and Gould developed the punctuated equilibrium model of evolution as a replacement for what creationists like Hawkes choose to call "Darwinism.
Shermer begins by analyzing several heterodox theories--such as the punctuated equilibrium model of evolution offered by Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould, and the relationship between race and athletic achievement.
The punctuated equilibrium model of Baumgartner and Jones, in which bursts of policy change interrupt periods of policy stability through shifts in issue definitions or images and changes in policy venues, is another approach reviewed by Mintrom.
The punctuated equilibrium model of discontinuous change, drawn from biological evolutionary theory (Eldredge and Gould, 1972), suggests that systems may be relatively stable for extended periods, but punctuated by short periods of rapid change.
Research on the punctuated equilibrium model of group development confounded group life span with member task completion.