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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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Speciation and Adaptation

Speciation and Adaptation

Large-Scale Patterns in the Evolution of Life, 1972–

(p.277) 6 Speciation and Adaptation
Eternal Ephemera

Niles Eldredge

Columbia University Press

This chapter deals with the efforts to reinvent the concepts focusing on the origin of discrete species, which implies that these concepts must be essentially right. The 1970s and 1980s witnessed the period of “macroevolution”—referring to the rise of theoretical analyses of the nature of species and their supposed roles in an expanded evolutionary theory. Giambattista Brocchi's perception of species as parallel to individuals prompted the discourse in modern evolutionary biology; if species are discrete entities, they themselves can be seen as playing their own roles in evolutionary history. There is a possibility that speciation may be a factor in generating adaptive change—instead of assuming that adaptive change causes speciation, modern biologists speculate that it is the process of speciation that prompts adaptive change. The chapter presents how paleontology had as many real contributions to evolutionary theory as biology does.

Keywords:   macroevolution, Giambattista Brocchi, species as individuals, modern evolutionary biology, speciation, adaptive change, paleontology

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