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Eternal EphemeraAdaptation and the Origin of Species from the Nineteenth Century Through Punctuated Equilibria and Beyond$
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Niles Eldredge

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231153164

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231153164.001.0001

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Punctuated Equilibria

Punctuated Equilibria

Speciation and Stasis in Paleontology, 1968–

Chapter:
(p.219) 5 Punctuated Equilibria
Source:
Eternal Ephemera
Author(s):

Niles Eldredge

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231153164.003.0006

This chapter delves into the development of the theory of punctuated equilibria, widely known as “punk eek.” Punctuated equilibria integrates the idea of the origin of species through geographic isolation with the near-universal pattern of stasis. Stasis refers to the event in which most species do not seem to exhibit any form of change for the duration of their lives, often over millions of years. Despite the difficulty of tracing steady, gradual modification of an ancestral species into an undoubted descendant, new species still unexpectedly show up in the fossil record. The imagery caught in punctuated equilibria thus appears to be relatively rapid bursts of evolution interrupting longer periods of non-change of species.

Keywords:   punctuated equilibria, punk eek, geographic isolation, stasis, fossil record

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