Model of punctuated equilibria

Eldredge and Gould called their discovery the “Model of punctuated equilibria”. The name is intended to express their concept that evolution occurs as an alternation of short periods of tumultuous change followed by a long period of evolutionary calm (stasis). Thus evolution is not gradualistic, occurring as a slow, more or less regular change in shapes and functions and smooth transition of the older species into a new species, but rather punctuated, and is characterized by jerky development that occasionally occurs rapidly, but with long intervals when nothing at all happens. As I have discovered on extensive experimental material from students, punctuated evolution (in Czech punktuacionalistická evoluce) is a term that is impossible to remember or at least enunciate. Anyone who can say it rapidly three times in a row (in Czech) can consider himself to be an experienced evolutionary biologist and can, without trepidation, apply for the position of head of a department of evolutionary biology at any Czech university. (I have not managed yet, but that does not matter, because no Czech universities have a department of evolutionary biology.)

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The classical Darwinian theory of evolution can explain the evolution of adaptive traits only in asexual organisms. The frozen plasticity theory is much more general: It can also explain the origin and evolution of adaptive traits in both asexual and sexual organisms Read more